Stephen: MLB nixes Tampa Bay proposal to split games with Montreal
Published on January 21st, 2022 @ 3:19 PM
Major League Baseball earlier this week rejected the Tampa Bay Rays’ so-called “sister city” proposal that would have had them split their home schedule between the Tampa Bay area and the city of Montreal. Team officials had spent two-and-a-half years on the proposal, which they saw as the best way to increase revenue without permanently moving the franchise. Despite their success on the field, the Rays’ home attendance has been near the bottom among MLB teams over the last decade. The sister city idea had been that it would take advantage of ideal weather in both cities, and the belief was it would lead to higher revenue because of increased demand for limited tickets.
Under the plan’s most recent version, the Rays would play the first two months of the season in the Tampa Bay area, then move to Montreal in early June. The cities would alternate hosting during the postseason, and both would get new ballparks. But Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Rays earlier this week that the idea had been rejected, according to ESPN, mainly because the logistics were too complex and it was too risky to make long-term commitments on the concept. So with the lease on Tropicana Field expiring after the 2027 season, and the sister city proposal nixed, the Rays will now consider new stadium options in the Tampa Bay area or moving to another city.