The “Sister City” Plan Continues To Be Developed

It seems Montreal is making progress on a stadium plan.

There is something going on with the Tampa Bay Rays ownership’s “Sister City” plan to partner with someone in Montréal, Stephen Bronfman, to executive a scheme that will see the franchise split its home games between the Tampa Bay market and the Québec marketplace. There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear. Rays’ owner Stu Sternburg played down the “Sister City” plan after being roasted by critics when it was revealed that Rays’ ownership planned to place some sort of “Sister City” logo in the Rays’ St. Petersburg stadium during the playoffs. Montréal interests are trying to stay mum although the group confirmed that a stadium plan has been developed.

“The Montréal Baseball Group continues to work on the development of the sister city project, in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rays, and with the assistance of several advisors in architecture, economic development, tourism, culture, sustainability and societal benefits. The design and development of the Wellington Basin site and adjacent spaces will propose a conscientious, responsible and innovative project in order to integrate a new sports and community complex that will transform a strategic area of Montréal into an attractive living environment.” There is some sort of notion that neither the Tampa Bay market nor the Montréal market are affluent enough to support a Major League Baseball team on a full-time basis. The Tampa market should be big enough if Orlando and Central Florida are part of the mix. The Tampa TV market is bigger than a dozen Major League Baseball markets. Montréal is Canada’s second biggest market but not the same market when MLB entered the picture in 1969. The separatist movement caused businesses to flee the province with Toronto emerging as county’s hottest business market. The Sister City plan is evolving.

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Tampa Bay Rays reliever Ryan Yarbrough pitches against the Miami Marlins during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)