The coronavirus pandemic has done nothing to dissuade Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg from pursuing an eventual season split between the Tampa area and Montreal. If anything, the shutdown has emboldened his stance.
"Just the opposite, as it's become more important not to be reliant on one place and one market," Sternberg said, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Sternberg and his staff have remained in contact with a group in Canada about plans for sister home ballparks. The plan involves two open-air stadiums - one in each locale - to be built ahead of the 2028 season or potentially even sooner.
He added that the 60-game schedule for 2020 will provide an opportunity to glean fan interest with television and radio serving as the primary options for consuming games.
"I still think people will gravitate to and support the team, especially if we're doing well on the field," Sternberg said.
Sternberg remains hopeful that some fans will be able to attend games at some point during the campaign.
The Rays enter the 2020 season with playoff expectations after finishing second in the AL East with a 96-66 record in 2019. They're set to open the regular season on July 24 when they host the Toronto Blue Jays - potentially their future part-time neighbors - at Tropicana Field.