Rays unveil plans for new ballpark with a roof that’ll reportedly cost $240 million

Rays unveil plans for new ballpark with a roof that’ll reportedly cost $240 million

The Rays, who have called Tropicana Field home since their inception, have plans for a new ballpark, and those plans were unveiled on Tuesday … 

The ballpark design calls for a seating capacity of 30,482, which would make it the smallest park in terms of seating capacity in all of MLB. The ballpark features sliding glass walls that can be opened to give a more outdoor feel and a translucent retractable roof. So even when it’s closed, it won’t feel quite so confining and shut off.

Also note this architectural flourish in the lower right image above. A segment of the roof is constructed to resemble a ray, which is a nifty touch. Overall, it’s anything but a traditional design and broadly seems to borrow a bit from Marlins Park. 

As for the cost, Marc Topkin tweets out the lofty estimate … 

So that’s close to a $1 billion price tag. As is all too often the case with such matters, the public is likely going to wind up footing most of the bill. That appears to be the case with the Rays’ proposed new place of business. 

Back in February, when the Rays announced they’d settled on a possible location in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa (Tropicana Field is in St. Petersburg), owner Stuart Sternberg floated a $150 million figure as a possible contribution from team. Maybe he was speaking informally, but it wouldn’t be shocking for a sports franchise to pay for such a small percentage of its new venue. On that note … 

If that winds up meaning private investment, that’s good. If, however, it winds up meaning hotel and entertainment taxes and bond offerings ushered through by obsequious local officials, then it’s not good. Modern sports venues are not sound investments in terms of benefitting taxpayers, and as such they should not be built on the backs of taxpayers. Typically, however, a misinformation campaign takes hold, and it’s passed off as a public-private partnership that benefits all stakeholders. The overwhelming body of economic evidence, however, says that’s not the case. 

In any event, the Rays have specific plans for a new ballpark, but the funding isn’t there yet. This is where things get “interesting.”