Since their inception
in 1998, the Rays have
played at Tropicana Field, the last remaining dome stadium Major League Baseball. Even though many fans prefer to watch
baseball being played outside, Tropicana Field keeps the summertime
heat and humidity out, keeping fans cool. Over the past decade, the Rays have invested in making their stadium one of
the best experiences for their fans. However, because Tropicana Field lacks
many amenities of newer ballparks, the team continues to explore
options of building a new stadium.
November 2007, the Rays announced plans to build a new ballpark in
downtown St. Petersburg, on the location of their former spring training
home, Al Lang Field. At a cost of $450 million, the ballpark would
seat 34,000 fans and be open to the elements, but have a retractable roof that
will open or close in eight minutes. The retractable roof would have
one of the most unique in baseball consisting of a light
weatherproof fabric pulled over the playing field by a
hoist tower in centerfield. It would have all the same modern and fan
friendly amenities as every other ballpark built and have air
conditioned concourses with views of the field.
May 2008 the Tampa Bay Rays announced their financing plan to
construct the ballpark. Owner of the Rays, Stuart Sternberg, would
contribute $150 million, $70 million or more would come from the
sale of Tropicana Field, $100 million from a one-cent extension from
Pinellas County tourist development tax that was used to construct
Tropicana Field, $75 million from the City of St. Petersburg and $55
million from parking revenues. The Rays would pay for any cost
On June 25, 2008
the Rays announced they were abandoning
their ambitious plans to build a $450 million stadium on the
downtown waterfront by 2012.
The stadium has been delayed indefinitely because St. Petersburg
and Pinellas County officials complained that the city and
county were being rushed to commit millions of public money for
the project. In June 2010, the Rays announced that they would
explore all options outside of the Tampa Bay area, including
outside of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. Throughout 2012,
developers have proposed building a 33,000 seat ballpark in
downtown Tampa and a 35,000 seat ballpark in Pinellas County.
The Rays remain committed to having a ballpark built in the
Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area.