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6.9d ago 9/18/2023 7:17 PM ET By DAVID BRANDT, AP Baseball Writer
The Tampa Bay Rays and the city of St. Petersburg announced a news conference for Tuesday expected to include finalized details about a new downtown ballpark.
The playoff-bound franchise has fielded competitive teams over the past several years but struggled to draw fans to Tropicana Field, widely-regarded as one of the most outmoded facilities in Major League Baseball.
The plans for a potential new stadium have been in the works for several months.
The Rays, who have played in the Trop since they first took the field in 1998 , are averaging 17,778 per game this season, 27th among the 30 big league teams. The Rays usually have among the lowest payrolls in the sport.
The consistently low attendance numbers and inability to find a new stadium also made the Rays a constant source of relocation rumors as the expiration of their lease approached after the end of the 2027.
MLB rejected a plan to split seasons between St. Petersburg and Montreal.
On the other side of the country, the Oakland Athletics have proposed moving to Las Vegas because of some of the same issues, particularly an older stadium.
A new stadium in St. Petersburg would put an end to that long-running saga, allowing the franchise to focus on staying competitive in an AL East division that includes the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles.
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