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How much for a new Rays stadium? The team's president says $700 million

The Tampa Bay Rays this week are asking Major League Baseball’s executive council to move forward with a plan to split seasons between the greater Tampa Bay region and Montreal. Brian Auld says the team would pay half for a new stadium here.

Rays president Brian Auld faced a tough crowd when he spoke to the Tampa Tiger Bay Club last week. Many attendees were skeptical of the proposal to share the Rays with Montreal.

But Auld repeatedly said it was the only way to keep the team in the region after its lease expires on Tropicana Field in 2027. He said a new ballpark would be cheaper under the proposal.

“I'm not going to get into exact specifics. But I'll reference, you know, a roughly $700 million stadium, and we want to try to pay for half of it," he said. "If we can pull that off, I think you will have one of the lowest public contributions into a ballpark that we've seen in a very long time.”

The Rays would also need to pay for a new stadium in Montreal. Quebec premier François Legault has said he is willing to helpCanadian businessman Stephen Bronfman, a likely partner for the project.

Montreal mayor Valerie Plante, who won a second term in office last week, says she's spoken to Bronfman and likes his proposal. But in an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Plante said taxpayer money "is a no."

At the Tiger Bay luncheon, Auld was asked what would happen to the team's name if the split city plan moves forward.

"We may do something as simple as play with different uniforms in different places," he said. "We may try to figure out a way to honor the history of the two regions independently with different sets of uniforms. We may come up with one name that works for both. I don't have the answer yet. The good news is no matter what, we've got at least four or five years to figure it out."

Bradley George was a Morning Edition host and reporter at WUSF until March 2022.