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Business Observer Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 2 months ago

Who will pay for proposed $892 million baseball stadium?

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The Tampa Bay Rays’ Ybor City stadium could be ready by 2023 if funding can be secured.

TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Rays and architectural firm Populous unveiled plans for a 28,216-seat, fixed-roof ballpark in Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood, but were mostly mum on how to pay for it.

The price tag? More than $892 million.

A rendering of the Tampa Bay Rays' proposal for a new ballpark in Ybor City, Tampa. Photo courtesy of Brock Communications.

Some $244 million of the cost comes from the translucent, high-tech roof, according to a presentation to local officials and media at the Italian Club of Tampa in Ybor City.

A fixed roof was chosen to ensure comfortable temperatures and game certainty, according to a press release. Sliding-glass exterior walls beyond center field and behind home plate bring the outside in, offering views of Tampa, Channelside and Ybor City, as well as cross breezes in pleasant weather.

"I'm proud and incredibly excited to present our vision of a ballpark and one that is of, by and for the people of Tampa Bay," Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg states in the release. "I speak for the whole Rays organization and the 20 years we've had here that we expect to be here for generations to come. We believe that baseball can not only survive but thrive in Tampa and the Tampa Bay region."

The Rays are touting their proposed new home as a next-generation, neighborhood ballpark that will be a year-round, accessible asset to the more than 1.6 million people who live within a 30-minute drive of it. If built as proposed, it would be the smallest stadium in Major League Baseball with a total capacity of 30,842.

If funding can be secured, the release states, the project could be complete in time for Opening Day 2023. 

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