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Tampa's Buckhorn: "We want to keep the Rays here"

4:48 PM, Jan 17, 2014   |    comments
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An aerial view of Tropicana Field

 

Tampa, Florida-- The topic of the Tampa Bay Rays future came up again Friday morning when Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn spoke on the radio with 620 WDAE Friday morning.

"Clearly it doesn't work in St. Petersburg," Buckhorn said on the sports radio station. "The performance, and the attendance have demonstrated that, that is a failed business model."

The Rays have continued to have on-field success despite enduring less-than-desirable ticket sales. Last season, Tampa Bay ranked next to last in the major leagues in attendance.

"I think everyone recognizes that it isn't working (in St. Petersburg)," Buckhorn told 10 News later in the day while attending an event honoring Monster Jam at Raymond James Stadium. "If we want to keep the Rays as a regional asset, something is going to have to change, and hopefully something will come sooner rather than later."

The Rays are essentially stuck in Tropicana Field near downtown St. Petersburg because of a building lease that doesn't expire for over 15 years. Many baseball fans complain about the location and the old, dingy stadium.

"We want to keep them here. We want them to survive," Buckhorn told us. "We love our Rays. We are going to find a way to keep them."

The Rays pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 14. The rest of the team will join them in Port Charlotte on February 19.

Tampa Bay Rays Stadium: Continuing Coverage

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