Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg has confirmed the Major League Baseball franchise is willing to contribute more than half of the cost towards a new $1.2bn (£963m/€1.12bn) ballpark in St Petersburg.
Sternberg also told the Tampa Bay Times that he is “highly optimistic” that a deal will be struck by the end of the year, with the franchise actively seeking investors.
“We’re going forward with the season, and we’re going to go forward, trying to put together something to raise some money to the very least be able to finance this ballpark,” he said.
The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field, where the team has played since its debut season in 1998, is currently due to expire after the 2027 season.
However, according to Sternberg, the Rays have been working “very closely and diligently” with St Petersburg and Pinellas County officials on the ballpark plans as part of the 86-acre Historic Gas Plant District revamp.
The City of Tampa released renderings of a proposed new stadium for the franchise on the site late last year.
It is hoped that the new stadium would open in 2028, although the entire development would take shape over about 15 years.
“Things are moving forward,” he said. “Nothing ever goes completely forward in a straight line. You get from here to there, you have setbacks and all. But I think we’re moving along at a very nice pace. And I feel pretty good about where we stand.”
Image: Visit St. Pete Clearwater