Reports of the Tampa Bay Rays looking to split time between Florida and Montreal were met with criticism last year.
While we have not heard much on this front since, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is now speaking out on it. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times notes, Sternberg is committed to the idea.
“Principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday the Rays remain fully committed to their radical plan to split future seasons with Montreal starting in 2028,” Topkin noted. “That they feel they are making progress toward the necessary approvals. And are convinced they are on the front end of a coming trend in pro sports.”
Sternberg also placed some of the onus on fans showing up to games at the run-down Tropicana Field. When asked about the potential of the Rays remaining in Tampa Bay over the long haul, he did not seem too optimistic.
“We won 96 games last year. If things blow through this year and we sell a ton more tickets — a ton — and get up heading toward league average and we open up the (upper) decks and sponsors come on and we do that again next year, I’d be silly not to consider it,” the owner said. “I’m open-minded about it, but something has to bear out.’’
It was downright embarrassing to see the attendance for a championship-contending Rays squad last season.
Overall, they finished 29th in the 30-team league with an average attendance of 14,734. Unless that doubles, the Rays are not going to be viable in Tampa over the long haul.
Any potential part-time move to Montreal would not happen until the 2028 season. In the meantime, there’s other options open to the Rays. That includes Las Vegas.