Orlando Unveils Rendering Of $1.7B Stadium Proposal In Hopes Of Luring The Rays

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The Tampa Bay Rays have made the playoffs 8 times in the past 15 years, the World Series twice, and have a record of 1,267-1,062 (.544) in that span.

Despite this success, the Rays have ranked in the bottom three in the American League in attendance all but four of those years.

Much of it has to do with the mausoleum that the team plays in – Tropicana Field – a building constructed way back in 1990 with hopes of luring a Major League Baseball team to town (and they almost landed the White Sox).

The building was already eight years old when the Tampa Bay Rays opened up their first season of play in 1998. Now, 25 years later, it’s one of the worst professional sports stadiums in America.

While the Rays have flirted with moving, or playing a portion of their games elsewhere (Montreal, hello?), nothing very solid has materialized.

That, however, is something that Orlando Magic co-founder Pat Williams hopes to change, and soon.

Williams, who in 2019, unveiled the name and logo of a potential new MLB franchise in Orlando (and even created a website for the team), is proposing a new domed baseball stadium be built in the city at a estimated cost of $1.7 billion.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Williams hopes a good chunk of the stadium will be paid for by the Orange County Tourist Development Tax (TDT).

“Williams has filed an application with the county’s TDT task force asking for $975 million to pay for a stadium project that will cost an estimated $1.7 billion,” writes Mike Bianchi of the Sentinel. “The project would include a new 45,000-seat domed stadium as well as retail shops, restaurants, office space and 1,000 or so hotel rooms around the stadium. The application calls for the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds to pay for $975 million, with the remainder being funded by the MLB team (either the Rays or the owner of an expansion team).”

“Orange County might be the most unique county in America,” Williams said. “Since the pandemic, our tourism has come back and is better than ever – and it’s only going to continue to grow. Our resort [tourist development] tax makes more in one month than Tampa’s resort tax makes in an entire year. We can help build a stadium in ways that other regions cannot.”

Williams has been trying to get the Tampa Bay Rays to move to Orlando for nearly four years and thinks this new stadium, to be located next to the Aquatica water park just across from SeaWorld, is the golden ticket.

“Orlando is ready for baseball and this is our best and maybe our last chance,” Williams said. “Time is running out on Tampa Bay, and the question is: Can they get a ballpark built? More importantly, can we get a ballpark built?”

Maybe. Maybe not. Just don’t ask the Oakland A’s ownership for any advice.

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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.