Data shows that a Tampa Bay Rays ballpark in Ybor City would reach the heart of the region’s population, making it accessible to a large number of residents.
Currently the Rays are eyeing Tampa’s Ybor City as the location of a new ballpark, with the proposed facility pitched for a 14-acre site north of Ybor Channel. If it is constructed, the venue would replace Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg as the team’s home.
Aside from its overall condition, one of the more consistent criticisms of Tropicana Field has been that it is not conveniently located for the bulk of the Tampa Bay region’s population base, which has been cited as a factor in the team’s traditionally low attendance numbers. It has long been expected that a new ballpark in Tampa would resolve this issue, as it would put the Rays within closer proximity to many area residents. The numbers back up this notion, as the proposed Ybor City site could draw from a sizable population base. More from the Tampa Bay Times:
Just 615,000 people, less than one fifth of Tampa Bay’s population, were estimated to live within a half-hour drive of the Rays current home in 2010 when the a group called the ABC Coalition compiled a study.
How much will that change if the Rays move to a shiny new ballpark in Ybor City?
The short answer: A lot.
If the Rays were to take the field today at —let’s call it Cigar City Stadium — they would draw from a population of almost 920,000 people within a 10 mile radius.
Widen that to 15 miles and the numbers swell to 1.2 million people, according to an analysis by county planners in both Hillsborough and Pinellas conducted at the request of the Tampa Bay Times.
Whether the location actually contributes to an increase in attendance remains to be seen, but the numbers show that the ballpark would be more easily accessible to a larger portion of the population than Tropicana Field. There is still plenty of work to make the proposed ballpark a reality, however, as the team and local officials have to address several areas–including the ballpark’s cost estimate and funding model. The Rays announced their intention to pursue the Ybor City site in February.
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