Tampa Bay Rays Tickets – Team Picks New Spot for Spring Training

January 16, 2011
Tampa Bay Rays
by Traveling Fools of America

The Tampa Bay Rays will be scraping off their shoes in a fancy new Spring Training facility this year at the Charlotte Sports Park, located in Port Charlotte, Florida. The Rays will play against the Reds on February 25 to mark their first game at Charlotte Sports Park.

The new facility was a .2 million renovation and expansion project. By unanimous approval of the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners, there was an increase of one-fifth of a cent in the tourism tax, a million grant from the Florida Sports Foundation, a contribution from the Rays and from Florida’s Office of Tourism, trade and Economic Development.

The 19,000 square foot wooden concourse stretching around the perimeter of the outfield, which is a uniquely different design specific to Charlotte Sports Park. “There are many different vantage points to experience what is great about Spring Training,” said Michael Kalt, senior vice president of development and business affairs.

The Charlotte Board of Commissioners and the Rays signed a 20-year agreement in 2006. The agreement says the Rays will hold their Spring Training at the newly renovated Charlotte Sports Park. There have certainly been a lot of upgrades and expansion touches added to make the 20-year deal enticing.

The renovation included replacing all of the seat, better access for fans with disabilities, newly landscaped entry plazas, renovated suites, a brand new 44,000 square foot clubhouse and administrative office building, rehabilitated training facilities, renovated press areas, a new Kids Clubhouse and rehabilitated training facilities.

Unlike many other clubs, the Rays built separate clubhouses for their Major League and Minor League players. Apparently, the rays want Minor League players to aspire to gain what they don’t yet have in the Minors, privilege which comes with advancing to the Major Leagues. We’ll be watching to see how that comes out.

Throw in new concession buildings, renovated concession stands, a grill, a kids’ concession stand and a barbeque and it seems like the Rays thought of everything. Not to mention five additional restrooms for women and four additional restrooms for men.

The Rays’ Rookie League affiliate Gulf Coast League Rays and the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Class A Florida State League will share the Charlotte Sports park with the Rays.

Twenty different children were enlisted to help design the Kids’ Clubhouse. Kids of all ages can enjoy the park which, by the way, is not only open during Spring Training but all year long thanks to the idea that is in keep with their quality partnership with Charlotte County which is to make the park a public one.

A 2,800 square foot team store is available as well and bears some similarity to the downtown Tampa team store. It seems that the Rays will be training in nothing less than style this year and for many years to come thanks to the renovations and expansions made to their Spring Training home located in Port Charlotte, Florida.

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