The Tampa Bay Rays have arguably the worst ballpark in America, but they are going to be staying put, at least for the next 14 years.
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg spoke to FOX Sports about a variety of topics and one of them was whether the team will be seeking a new home in the future.
The Rays have played at Tropicana Field since 1998. The stadium opened its doors in 1990 and cost $130 million to build. So far this season the Rays average 17,909 fans per home game. Another Florida team, the Miami Marlins, are the only team that draws fewer spectators.
When asked how long the team planned to stay at the 40,000-seat domed stadium, Sternberg said:
"Fourteen (more) years, through 2027. It’s far, but it’s not that far because I can’t in 2026 snap my fingers and all of a sudden have a place to play. The groundwork needs to be done, starting very soon. You’ve got to figure out the proper location, whether it’s 10 yards from where we’re playing or 30 miles. Then you have to figure out if it’s feasible. Then you have to go through the approvals and everything else. Even if you have a location, just to get that OK’d takes years. Then it takes years to actually build the thing. At some point in the next few years, we’ve got to have it figured out."
Sternberg said the lease with the city of St. Petersburg on the stadium is iron-clad and wouldn't discuss if there was a way to break it.
"If I walked in and said, ‘Here’s $12 billion. Can you let us out of the lease?’ I think they’ll probably say OK. If I say, ‘Here’s a dollar. I want to leave in five years,’ they’re probably not going to say OK," he said.