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MLB’s Rays identify site for new ballpark

Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Tampa Bay Rays has confirmed that it has identified a potential site for its proposed new ballpark.

Ken Hagan, the commissioner for Hillsborough County in Florida, yesterday (Tuesday) said in a post on social networking website Twitter that a location has been acquired near downtown Tampa.

Sports Illustrated reports that the 14-acre site is located in the Ybor City Channel District, approximately 23 miles away from the Rays’ current Tropicana Field home (pictured) in St. Petersburg.

“I’m thrilled about the possibilities that exist about this location,” Hagan said. “The site has unlimited potential not only for a state of the art ballpark, but it will also catalyse significant economic development.”

Rays president Brian Auld also confirmed the news and described the acquisition of land as an “important step” in the team’s ongoing goal to secure a new home.

In a statement on the official Rays Twitter page, Auld said: “This is another important step in the site selection process. And we are grateful for the time and attention that went into making it a possibility.

“We look forward to getting to work evaluating this option along with those in Pinellas County, including the Tropicana Field site, as a potential future home for Rays baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come.”

Although details of the planned new stadium are sparse, the Tampa Bay Times in March reported that the team is keen to ensure that the ballpark is a high-tech venue with a host of modern amenities.

The franchise is said to have collected almost 4,600 ideas from fans and the local community to support development, with proposals including sofas instead of traditional stadium seating and a mobile application that would allow fans to order food and drink to their seat, with items to be delivered by drones.