In a standoff that has become increasingly contentious, perhaps "productive" is progress.

Mayor Bill Foster's long-awaited meeting with Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg took place Friday, but neither side would say whether the talks brought them any closer to resolving the deadlock over the team's desire to leave Tropicana Field.

A joint statement issued through a Rays spokesman described the talks as productive and indicated that negotiations will continue.

"Today's conversation was a productive one, and we anticipate continuing it in the coming weeks," the statement read.

Rays officials declined to comment further, and Foster did not return repeated calls for comment.

The meeting was the first in a year between Foster and Sternberg, who have become the two central figures in the stadium debate.

Despite posting winning records the past few years, the team has drawn disappointing crowds at the stadium, where the team is obligated to play through 2027. Rays executives say the outdated Trop is in the wrong location and will never draw enough fans to sustain a winning baseball team.