The Tampa Bay Times reported Monday that officials in Hillsborough County have been eyeing a spot in the Channel District-Ybor section of Tampa that could be the possible site of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tuesday, Hillsborough County commissioner Ken Hagan confirmed to 620 WDAE that the area just north of downtown Tampa could be where the Rays will be playing baseball after leaving Tropicana Field.
"We've been focused on a couple of different parcels, primarily in the Channelside and Ybor District, in that general geographical swath for a couple of reasons," Hagan told Ronnie and TKras Tuesday. "Number one: Most of your recent models have been in urban environments, and we feel that in order to create a sustainable ballpark that can thrive particularly in the midweek games, you need to have that business travel and walk-up traffic that's associated withe urban environment. But that general location also meets many of the Rays guiding principals, such as local flare and authenticity with Ybor being right there, the historical district, access issues and other things. So we've been focused in that area."
Hagen feels the Rays are keeping a poker-faced approach to the site, but feel similarly to him and county officials.
"I believe [for] the Rays that this is their number one site that they would like to have for a future home, and as soon as we can get site control through an option agreement on the land is when I will go public on the specific location," Hagan said. "The only real question mark is will the Rays comment at that time. It's my general feeling that they do not want to say anything that could particularly influence the mayoral election [in St. Petersburg], so they may or may not comment at that time. But certainly, I'm very confident that when they do, they'll confirm that this is their preferred spot as well."
The Rays are currently under contract to play at Tropicana Field, their home since their inception, through 2027, but are in a window that allows them to discuss options for a new ballpark in Hillsborough County.
Listen to Hagan's comments below!