LOS ANGELES — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred’s preferred location for a new Rays ballpark would be on the Tampa side of the bay rather than in St. Petersburg but he says the site alone won’t be a determining factor.
Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season. The Rays said in January that Major League Baseball had rejected the team’s plan to split its season between Florida and Montreal.
Manfred said he had not spoken in recent weeks with Rays owner Stuart Sternberg for an update.
“I have always thought that a stadium on the other side of the causeway would be preferable in some respects,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday before the All-Star Game. “But there’s a variety of factors that have to be taken into account in terms of determining whether you’re going to be in St. Pete or in Tampa: What financing is available? What sites are available? How quickly you can get in the ground? It’s not just the location.”
Tampa Bay has drawn 676,296 at home this season and its 13,802 average is 28th among the 30 teams, ahead of only Miami (11,591) and Oakland (8,637).