Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said the team needs crowds equal to the league average of 30,000 to remain competitive long-term.
And that, he told Pinellas County commissioners on Tuesday, is not going to happen in St. Petersburg, where, he said, only one-quarter of Rays fans live and there are only 300 season ticket accounts for the upcoming season.
"It's just not up to snuff," Sternberg said.
Some county commissioners seem to accept that allowing the Rays to cross the bay might be the only way to keep the team in the region.
That is despite warnings from St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster that the city will sue anyone trying to lure the team away from Tropicana Field, where the Rays are contracted to play through 2027.
"If the mayor comes to a point where he allows you to look at both counties, I would be very supportive of that because I don't see another way forward," said Pinellas County Commission Chairman Ken Welch.
The Rays are only asking to follow up on a 2008 study on regional stadium locations, Sternberg said.
"I don't know exactly what we're going to find out there," Sternberg said. "We might find the best place is where we are right now. I don't expect that."
Rays execs tell Pinellas commissioners they want stadium options
Tampa Tribune | Jan 30