Sources: Rays to explore playing in Montreal

The Tampa Bay Rays received permission from Major League Baseball’s executive council to explore a plan in which they would play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and the remainder of the year in Montreal, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

Under the plan, the Rays would play in new stadiums in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal, according to sources. The ability to play games early in the season in Florida would preclude the need for a domed stadium, cutting the cost of a new building. A month ago, Bronfman – who along with Montreal businessman Mitch Garber has expressed interest in taking a minority stake in the Rays alongside owner Stuart Sternberg – reached an agreement with a developer on a site in Montreal’s Pointe-Saint-Charles neighborhood to potentially build a new stadium. The number of home games each city would receive has not been determined, according to sources.

Significant hurdles remain for the plan to take root, sources said.

Johnny doesn’t see how this would work. How can a fanbase be attached to a part time team? ::slight_smile:

This is shades of the Expos playing part time in San Juan. It was really the white flag being waived by MLB so is this the same acceptance?

Rays can’t leave altogether until after the 2027 season but I didn’t think the lease at Tropicana Field allows gams played out of market.

Yah what you call it the Montampa halftime Ray’s .

As the article states where do you play if there are playoff dates .

One thing for sure Montreal understands that spring weather and outdoor baseball in Canada is a no go .

Tampa wants to put the pressure on politicians and Montreal sees maybe a cheap way to get a MLB team . Gamble for both cities ?

Its not going to work long term so what’s the real ploy .

Foot in the door with a minority buy in and see if Bronfman can secure some money to make it a full time team a few years down the road seems to be the deal .

To me if thats the plan why not make the Jays a national team .

rename them the …

Northern Jays .

Play 30 games in Montreal . 10 in Vancouver maybe 5 in Edmonton and the rest in Toronto . Now you have a legacy tenant for a simple stadium in Montreal for a reasonable price .

Perhaps the end game is a gamble and reward for both cities.

Since the lease remaining in TB is so long, this may be a way to get both cities to pony up while they split. The first one to approve a stadium will get the team full time, while also being used as leverage against the other. One stadium gets done and it’s a win for both MLB and one city.

With one stadium being done and progress being made in Oakland, MLB can move the process for expansion. The ‘loser’ city will be a priority candidate for one of the spots, therefore MLB will really need to approve one new location and splitting the valuable TV regions in fewer parts. This along with the expansion fee and balanced schedule between the leagues will be another win for MLB.

This plan is insane.

The Rays are trying the scare tactics with local civic officials. This is a rumour conveniently floated by Rays ownership to use Montreal as a threat- or at least a partial threat.

Can not see support lasting much more than a few games in Montreal under that scenario.

I agree, but Rick Moffat has a great name for them - the ExRays.

The difference is 40 games with the Rays to 30 with the Jays without any buy in by Bronfman except a lease agreement on a new stadium for 30 games a year for X amount of years .

Plus the team is geographically affiliated within Canada and not Florida so the fan can follow the team with a short run on the highway or train .

Plus a name change would reflect the national scope Rogers would like . It would make more sense with a name to reflect it .

Plus season tickets for both cities is a lot less and is a less of a commitment .

Surprised it hasn’t been broached by both parties it makes more sense for MLB to see the area as one anyways .

Montreal doesn’t support many full time teams, likely arne’t going to support part time teams.

a failure in the wings.


Field of Schemes always chiming in of course. Love the word “insane” here 8)

Rays could build new stadiums in both Tampa Bay and Montreal, because that’s totally not insane

Whoa 5 dollar tickets and there are no takers in Tampa .

It’s maybe insane for a full time team in either city and maybe it’s time for MLB to do what they were going to do awhile back and contract .

The weather in both cities considered requires a dome full time . They believe two non dome facilites will work part time .

Still feel my idea makes a whole lot more sense next to this . The dome is already in place for now and the stadium Bronfman wants for his complex could be just right with a simple old fashioned baseball only stadium 30 k seating for 30 games with a regional team with the Jays already embraced in Montreal in April with the exhibition games getting good attendance . Just requires a regional name change to reflect it .

A silly idea that is unlikely to gain any traction. I think Montreal will eventually have an MLB team - either Tampa or expansion.

An outdoor stadium will be fine, even ideal. Nothing like outdoor baseball from May until September. They can manage a dozen or so outdoor games in April just fine. Detroit, Boston, Cleveland and Minneapolis manage just fine with no domes.

Cleveland 18,900 and Detroit 17,900 both have worse attendance than Toronto ( dome ) and were in mid June and they have better records as of today . They luck out as they are in the central .

Minnesota is in first place in that same division with a 113 million US payroll and they are 18th in attendance of 30 teams . Not bad but if the team tanks the new stadium smell wears off and they were in that Humphrey Dome for the championship years for a reason .

As far as Boston and Chicago ( not mentioned ) they created a tribal religion to the Redsox and Cubs that is Toronto Maple Leaf level loyalty . Not sure you get that in Montreal after the new car smell rubs off and the team is not good especially with any competitive east division that the Rays play in . BUT with a small 30 k baseball only stadium they could create atmosphere that may pay off with a stadium that creates a buzz .

Saying that it will NOT effect the CFL Als with direct competition with a downtown stadium is way out of touch with any idea how sports entertainment dollars work when you invade the same time table as a major league franchise ( June , July , August andearlySeptember the better weather days to watch a game .

This is not the NFL where the season starts second week of September .

No way this does not eat into the much needed dollars for the CFL team .

Better get some Quebec City rivalry to combat that effect when the Yankees , Red Sox and Jays play the same time in Montreal when the Als play against BC or Winnipeg .

It’s called the lag effect - when a team finally becomes good, it usually takes until the following year(s) to see the full benefits in the stands. There are more season ticket holders and mini-pack holders the following year. That, of course, will depend on remaining a good team for a few years and having an ownership group that invests in the club as they improve.

Your specious reasoning linking Cleveland’s and Detroit’s attendance to lack of a dome ignores the fact that the Tigers have been terrible for years with no signs of improving while in Cleveland ownership’s refusal to invest in their good players (trading them away or letting them leave via free agency) had kept fans away since the early 2000s. Why should they invest in the team if ownership will not?

The gem of a new ballpark in Minny - some say it is the best in MLB - not only provides them with excellent new revenue streams, but it also provides them with greater attendance during the bad years than they experienced during the dark days of the 90s and early 2000s at their old domed stadium.

Several seasons in which the Twins were in last or near last place for attendance barely averaging 1 million fans per season in the 90s. Attendance during the dark years at the new stadium are far better and the revenues are not even comparable. It would be the same with the Expos - the revenue streams with smaller crowds will be far greater at the new stadium than Olympic Stadium and the crowds during the down years will be better than the average of 10,000 the Expos had for much of their later years…as long as ownership is willing to invest in their young players when the time is right.

And what on earth are you talking about with it not affecting the CFL/Als? Did I state that in my previous post? The answer is NO so why are you even bringing it up!? Responding to statements that were never made perhaps!?

As far as Detroit and Cleveland just pointing out they are not as good in attendance as you posted . It is MLB and the less than stellar weather effects sports especially one’s where your outside watching .

I am sure Toronto’s crowds would be smaller without the dome this season . The mistake by the lake was cold and damp early in the baseball season .

Is Montreal building a Target field ?

550 million US in 2010 or 724 million Canadian and rising plus renovating the big owe .

Those are big numbers for the public purse if it goes that way .

The comment on the Expos effecting the Als was not pointed at you directly and should have put into a second post . Just lazy posting not personal .

Double-edged sword domed stadiums are but personally with the newer translucent materials, and if the facility is owned by the city or municipality, a covered stadium is the way to go in this climate in Canada where the facility can be used year round for so many community uses other than strictly pro sports. Build a smaller stadium seating wise if there is cost issues to make it happen IMHO. Seeing these public facilities covered with snow and not used for much of the year, well sort of seems a shame.

What a crazy idea this is. Can’t get a deal done for one stadium, so let’s ask for two stadiums, in two different countries.

Montreal has already invested hundreds of millions in the coming Big O renovation. I doubt the city has any interest in paying for another stadium.