Major League Baseball’s best team in 2023 is being pursued by potential new owners — even though its current owner says the club is not for sale.
The Athletic reports the Tampa Bay Rays are drawing unsolicited interest from Dan Doyle Jr., chief executive of Tampa-based DEX Imaging, as well as other prospective ownership groups looking to relocate the franchise.
As they have for nearly 20 years, the Rays seek a new facility to replace the outdated Tropicana Field. The club remains in negotiations with St. Petersburg on developing a new ballpark that could cost $1.2 billion, with Orlando recently posited as another option.
The latest interest in the Rays feeds in on increasing discussion within MLB about possible expansion, but team owner Stu Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times there’s no movement to surrender control.
“I expect we will build a ballpark in Tampa Bay that will keep the Rays here for generations to come,” Sternberg said. “I also plan on remaining the Rays owner.”
While Sternberg denied interest in selling a majority interest in the club, it remains possible he could opt to bring in additional minority partners like Doyle to help fund a new facility.
The Rays’ current Tropicana Field lease expires after the 2027 season, in turn raising the urgency around the club’s ballpark situation. The Rays’ status, however, contrasts significantly from that of the Oakland A’s, who have been given league permission to pursue relocation.