Rays 2020 Stadium Announcement
Tampa Bay’s major league baseball team The Tampa Bay Rays played their first season in 1998. Their domed-shaped stadium, Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, is synonymous with the team. After 20+ seasons at “The Trop” and declining attendance numbers, team owner Stuart Sternberg began looking for alternative options to keep the Tampa Bay Rays franchise in the Tampa Bay area.
Thus, the Rays 2020 movement was born! Rays 2020 is a “privately funded non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a new Rays ballpark to Tampa,” according to the Tampa Bay Rays 2020 website. This organization is spearheaded by “some of Tampa’s most forward thinking business and community leaders.” Speculation swirled as the Rays 2020 organization announced on February 9, 2018 that the future home of the Rays would be in Tampa’s entertainment and Latin district- Ybor City.
Support from local businesses and community leaders has been garnished through a collective referred to as the “Rays 100” who are “dedicated to ushering in the next generation of Rays baseball in Tampa Bay.” Together these community leaders and businesses hope to provide support to ensure the overall success of this monumental project by organizing open-forum discussions, gathering input from various stakeholders, easing the woes of certain pain points associated with the project and strengthening community support.
On July 10th, Rays supporters’ unveiled the proposed ballpark design renderings to the public. Global architectural firm Populous, which specializes in designing sports stadiums, headquartered in Kansas City was ultimately chosen to oversee the project.
The renderings released “signature entry plazas and dramatic sliding glass exterior walls [that] will bring the outside in [with] a fully-enclosed, translucent roof.” The $900 million dollar stadium will feature a 32,000-seat capacity. The stadium will also serve as a year-round entertainment venue.
Design emphasis is centered around the fan experience, from the intimacy of the seats to the action on the field. The new stadium is destined to be a center of social and community interaction. The hope is for the ballpark to “not only be the defining icon for Tampa Bay, but will be a catalyst for development for the surrounding neighborhoods and a year-round community asset.”
The selected 14-acre site of warehouses and parking lots will be completely revitalized. The exact location of the stadium will be between the Selmon Expressway and Adamo Drive to the South, North 15th Street to the East, Channelside Drive to the West and East 4th Avenue to the North.
The new Tampa Bay Rays baseball stadium is slated to be ready by the start of the 2023 MLB season.