Report: Rays want to play half their home games in Tampa, half in Montreal
The Tampa Bay Rays have drawn some shockingly low attendance numbers this season, and they are reportedly looking to go to extreme measures in an attempt to remedy that issue.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rays have received permission from Major League Baseball to pursue an arrangement where they would play half of their home games in Tampa Bay and the other half in Montreal. The plan would be to play their early-season home games in Tampa and the remainder of the year north of the border.
The proposed plan calls for the Rays to play games at new stadiums in both Tampa and Montreal. By playing in Florida in the early part of the season, the idea is that the new stadium would not require a roof enclosure and the cost to build it would be more reasonable.
The Expos were the last team to call Montreal home before they moved to Washington, D.C., and became the Nationals in 2005. Several powerful people in the city, including former Expos owner Charles Bronfman’s son, support the idea of bringing baseball back to Montreal. Stephen Bronfman is said to have expressed interest in purchasing a minority stake in the Rays earlier this year.
Despite their 43-31 record this season, the Rays have an average attendance of just 14,546. The attendance has been so low that the team even had to address it publicly at one point. Time will tell if calling two cities home is the solution to the problems that have been ongoing in Tampa.