If some in the local government have their say, however, the Rays will be getting a new stadium much sooner than that ... in Tampa.
A private group is reportedly getting their ducks in a row on a deal for stadium land in downtown Tampa. Not only do many believe the Rays need a "revenue rich" stadium long before the 2027 contract expires, but reports have surfaced indicating the team will flee the city if that doesn't happen. Thus, if the county officials wish to keep the team in the area, a move to Tampa may be mandatory.
"Please understand that it is not my intention to suggest any specific site or to offer any public funding mechanism or participation," Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan wrote. "However, I strongly believe that major league baseball is of critical importance to the entire region from both economic and quality of life perspectives. And I, for one, feel it is in the best interests of our community to keep major league baseball in Tampa Bay."As could be expected, however, St. Petersburg officials are not going to let the team move across the Bay without a fight. Mayor Bill Foster stated he believes the discussions of a new stadium should simply be a dialogue between the Rays and St. Petersburg.
Currently, the team itself is mum, but reportedly some outside parties believe an area in Channelside (Tampa) is the likely front-runner for the location of a new Rays stadium.
Don't expect this fight to conclude anytime soon, but one thing is for sure: it's very unlikely that you'll see the Rays playing in Tropicana Field in the 2020s.