Along with a new baseball stadium, could we see someone new at the helm of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise from a business standpoint?
A new article (subscription required) by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says that there could be groups interested in purchasing the team from current owner Stuart Sternberg both to keep them in the Tampa Bay region and also for a possible relocation.
Rosenthal notes that the team declined to comment on whether there have been talks with any potential buyers, and Major League Baseball has reiterated their comments about the team looking at building a new ballpark at the Tropicana Field site to be ready for when the team’s current use agreement at the current ballpark ends after the 2027 season. However, he does point out that potential buyers of the Rays would likely end up paying less to own the club than they would in trying to acquire one of the two expansion franchises that are expected to come to the league once the ballpark situation in both Tampa Bay and Oakland are resolved.
St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch earlier this year picked the proposal submitted by the Rays and Hines to redevelop the historic Gas Plant neighborhood site that included a new domed ballpark for the team on the eastern side of the site where the team has played since its inception in 1998.
Sternberg has owned the Rays as managing partner since 2005, purchasing the team from founding owner Vincent J. Naimoli. Under Sternberg’s tenure, the team has made the playoffs eight times since 2008, including four division titles and a pair of American League pennants in 2008 and 2020, and is widely considered as the smartest small-market team in the sport.