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Canada

Rays, St. Pete end talks to play games in Montreal

The Tampa Bay Rays, who explored playing some home games in Montreal, have decided not to pursue that plan and ended those discussions with the city of St. Petersburg, according to a letter to the City Council from the mayor’s office released on Wednesday.

“Both parties have agreed that the best path forward is to abide by the existing use agreement with the understanding that the agreement allows for the Rays Organization to explore post-2027 split or full season opportunities, both in St. Petersburg and elsewhere,” wrote Mayor Rick Kriseman.

However, the Rays won’t pursue “full-time” stadium options in the Tampa Bay area and public dollars won’t be contributed by the city toward bringing a new stadium to the area, the mayor divulged.

“With no imminent discussions pending regarding a new stadium for a full-time team we will begin to evaluate our next steps in redeveloping at least parts of the site following additional public engagement,” Kriseman said.

In June, the Rays announced they were considering a “shared city” concept by splitting their home schedule between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal, and were given the go-ahead by Major League Baseball’s executive committee to do so.

The plan would have involved playing early season home games in Florida and the remainder of the year in Canada, with the exact number of home games in each location undetermined.

The two-city solution reportedly was considered a possible way to save baseball in the Tampa Bay area, as the team’s dwindling attendance — 14,734 per game in 2019 — was the second lowest in the majors.

Now a partial or permanent move can’t happen until the 2028 season at the earliest, according to the announcement. The Rays’ lease to play at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field runs through the 2027 season.

–Field Level Media

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