The Rays are trying to make Tropicana Field a "a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience" for fans.

By Jenna West
January 04, 2019

The Rays are looking to make some renovations at Tropicana Field to improve fans' experiences, including reducing the seating capacity, the club announced Friday.

The club will close the upper-deck 300 level and reconfigure the ballpark to seat 25,000-26,000 fans. It previously seated 31,042, which was the lowest capacity in major league ballparks.

"These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field," Rays President Matt Silverman said in a statement. "Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans."

Tampa Bay has been plagued by attendance issues for years and annually ranks as one of the teams in Major League Baseball with the lowest numbers. In 2018, the Rays had the second lowest attendance in the league, averaging only 14,258 fans per game. The Marlins were last with 10,013.

News of the renovations comes less than one month after the Rays revealed that their plans to build a new ballpark in Tampa's neighborhood of Ybor City had stalled. The city of St. Petersburg had given the Rays a three-year period in which they could negotiate a deal to build a new stadium. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg conceded that a deal would not be finalized.

Other renovations to the Trop will include installing Shaw Sports Turf and adding more social gathering spaces, including the Left Field Ledge. It will replace the tarped seats above the left field crosswalk. Fans will have additional access from the Budweiser Porch and Ballpark & Rec areas to the Outfielder bar behind center field.

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