The Rays’ lease with St. Petersburg goes until 2027 and prohibits them from looking at new stadium sites outside of St. Pete. That may soon change, however, as the Tampa Bay Times reports that the team and the city may soon reach an agreement allowing the Rays to look in Hillsborough County — that’s Tampa — at potential sites. Part of this deal may also include the terms of a buyout of the St. Pete lease if and when the Rays want to move.
In the past, the previous mayor of St. Petersburg was staunchly against allowing the Rays to do anything like this. The new mayor is being more pragmatic, yet still desires that the Rays build a new ballpark in St. Pete. Short of that, he is of the view that the Rays aren’t likely to find a good site let alone anyone willing to help them pay for a new park in Tampa. His view seems to be “Go ahead and look all you want. You’ll be back, though.”
Still, this is more than the Rays have had for a while. And the idea that the city is willing to talk buyout could, eventually, pave the way for the Rays to move anyplace, be it Tampa or another city altogether.