The Rays-St. Petersburg lease won’t let the plan happen until 2028.
There is nothing that says we love you to your television/media partners, marketing partners, club seats and luxury box holders and fans more than this. Tampa Bay Rays supporters, you are going to share the team with Montréal baseball fans soon. Rays ownership has not completely given up on the Tampa market but Rays owners seem to like Montréal in the summer. Matt Silverman, who is the Rays president, said on a Rays pregame radio show broadcast that the business will be “more visible and more vocal” about the plan to split games between the Tampa area and Montréal. “For the postseason, we’re going to add a sign in the right-field foul territory with a very simple Tampa Bay Montréal graphic. Especially with the eyes of baseball on us this October, we want that visible symbol of our plan and our excitement for it. We believe in our Sister City plan. Major League Baseball believes in it fully. It’s the best and possibly only chance for baseball to be here for generations.” MLB wants to get back into the Montreal market. Rays owner Stu Sternberg is convinced that Montréal is a good part-time market despite the fact that the Canadian dollar has been hanging around 79 cents US for quite a while.
Sternburg has so far been unable to get a new stadium built in the Tampa market. Montréal lost its MLB team after the 2004 season because of Montréal’s ownership’s inability to get a modern baseball plant built. Television money was an issue at the end of the Montréal Expos run. Montréal may get decent local English and French TV deals for a part time team. Questions remain about Montréal’s ability to generate corporate support. But Sternburg and MLB apparently want to move ahead with the Sister City plan.