TAMPA BAY RAYS 2020 ENDORSES PLANS FOR NEW RAYS BALL PARK
TAMPA, FL (July 13, 2018) Tampa Bay Rays 2020 Co-Chairs Ron Christaldi and Chuck Sykes
today announced their endorsement and support for the newly announced plans for a signature
ball park in Ybor. The Rays announcement on Tuesday was well attended by numerous elected
officials including Mayor Buckhorn, city and county elected officials and members of the Rays
100 – a voluntary group of business leaders with community-wide involvement.
“We applaud the Tampa Bay Rays as visionaries. The plans unveiled by the team this week
check all the boxes – bold architecture, complementary to Ybor, pedestrian friendly and hub for
food and entertainment,” said Tampa attorney, Ron Christaldi. The Rays unveiled plans for the
new ball park that were under development for the last two years. The plans were developed
with input by the county, city, the Ybor community and numerous citizens’ groups. Rays principal
owner, Stu Sternberg opened the event restating his team’s commitment to the Tampa Bay
region and a new ball park in Ybor.
The Ray’s coordinated a video presentation that provided a detailed overview on what will be by
every measure a defining architectural site for Tampa Bay.
“The Rays have presented to us a plan for a new ball park that complements Ybor City and the
redevelopment taking place in neighboring Channelside, Tampa Heights and Downtown,” stated
Chuck Sykes, CEO of Sykes Enterprises. “The emphasis is on creating an urban community
destination that will welcome families as well as baseball fans to enjoy great restaurants and
retail sites in a park-like setting like no other place in the Tampa Bay area,” according to Sykes.
The Tampa Bay Rays 2020 (TBR2020) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building citizen
input and support for building a new home for the Rays in Tampa Bay. Sykes and Christaldi
are co-chairs. Its primary leadership committee is the Rays 100. Over fifteen broad-based business
and civic organizations throughout Hillsborough County have endorsed TBR2020 – with
more to come. “We have full-faith that the negotiating team designated by the Rays, City and
county will confirm a finance plan to cover the financial costs for the new ball park,” stated
Sykes and Christaldi will continue to outreach to business and civic leaders to join the TBR2020
engagement. “We are a grassroots program focused on generating widespread support for the
new ball park with citizens of Hillsborough and throughout the Tampa Bay Region, Sykes
shared.” Tampa and Ybor City is the population and business center for Tampa Bay. Christaldi
and Sykes are spearheading an effort to confirm major pledges such as naming rights, corporate
sponsorships and season tickets. ”Interest is there. Interest is great. We look forwarding to
welcoming the Rays to a new Tampa Bay home,”said Christaldi.
About the Tampa Bay Rays 2020
The Tampa Bay Rays 2020 is a non-profit organization created by Tampa Bay business leaders
and volunteers to raise Tampa Bay community awareness, build private equity and support the
overall movement to “Keep the Rays in Tampa Bay.”
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Rays 2020 Presentation
Let’s Rally to Make Tampa the New Home of the Rays
Tampa Bay Rays 2020
Column: New ballpark will keep baseball in Tampa Bay for generations
By Chuck Sykes and Ron Christaldi, special to the Times
Published: February 9, 2018
Updated: February 9, 2018 at 07:07 PM
Throughout Tampa Bay we are all fellow citizens of the same community, and it is only through a regional approach that we will succeed. This is a truism in many areas, including our approach to ensuring that the Tampa Bay Rays continue to call this great community of Tampa Bay their home.
Efforts to keep the Rays in the region with a new ballpark have been well documented. From the sail roof proposal along the St. Petersburg waterfront to a retractable roof ballpark in Carillon, there have been no shortage of ideas and attempts to ensure Major League Baseball remains here for generations.
Unfortunately, each proposal met with the same result. Now it is time to look at a Tampa Bay site rich in baseball history and a site that fans from throughout the region could embrace and celebrate as one of the most unique venues in all of Major League Baseball.
A new state-of-the-art ballpark for the Rays in Ybor City would be the capstone in a movement that will complement recent progress and endure for many years. The city of Tampa is undergoing a renaissance as never before seen, and its future is bright. This growth and prosperity has been fostered by community leaders who have vision and courage, knowing it will be transformed.
Therefore, an Ybor ballpark site is the best location to ensure that the Rays will thrive and this region will contribute to grow and prosper.
That is why we have created Tampa Bay Rays 2020, a regional effort that will harness community and business support to show why locating the Rays in Hillsborough County is a win for our region, the state of Florida and the team itself.
Since 1878, generations have relished Tampa Bay’s rich baseball history. From the Tampa Smokers in minor league play to the war-time leagues in West Tampa and Ybor, baseball in Tampa Bay runs deep with tradition and affection. And over the years, we have been home to many teams during spring training. Of course, a generation of kids have now grown up with the Rays.
Now is the time to cement this rich history by building a new ballpark.
Ybor City is where the Rays want a new ballpark and for good reason. This location will seamlessly connect vibrant downtown Tampa with historic Ybor, creating an entertainment district that rivals those in major cities across the country.
From Water Street to Channelside to Seventh Avenue, the jobs created will serve as an economic engine. As past chairs of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, we know how important business partnerships are in growing wages for residents and our economy as a whole. A new ballpark will become a worldwide destination and further enhance our reputation as one of the nation’s best places to live.
We know a ballpark is a serious commitment, but it is one that is well worth the investment. That is why we are uniting fans and the business community in the Tampa Bay region through Tampa Bay Rays 2020 to show our collective focus and that baseball will thrive. And there is no doubt that this ballpark will create an exciting fan experience like no other.
Famous Tampa Bay baseball legend Al Lopez said, "Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it."
We love Tampa Bay. We love baseball in Tampa Bay. Let’s give our best to hit a home run for our community.
Chuck Sykes is the CEO of Sykes Enterprises. Ron Christaldi is a partner at Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick. They are co-founders of Tampa Bay Rays 2020, www.tampabayrays2020.com