The Tampa Bay Rays made headlines on Thursday when it was announced that the MLB would allow the team to explore the possibility of splitting their home games between the cities of Tampa Bay and Montreal. This bizarre report was met with loads of backlash, calling the idea idiotic and utter nonsense. The potential move was essentially shut down just hours after the idea was presented, but Tampa Bay is still looking to relocate at some point. Here are three cities the Rays could look to move to after their terrible two-city idea was put to rest.
The Carolinas currently have a franchise from every major sports league outside of the MLB. The Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and Carolina Hurricanes have all had varying levels of success, and it appears to be a solid enough market to support a major league baseball team. The Rays ironically call Charlotte County in Florida their home for spring training operations, but a move to the city of Charlotte could be a potentially great move for a franchise that is desperate for a solid market that can generate revenue. Move the White Sox Triple-A team to Raleigh, a city starved for baseball, and send the Rays to the bigs in Charlotte.
2. Las Vegas
Las Vegas has become a hot area of intrigue for a sports franchise across every pro ranks. The Oakland Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas in the near future, the Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup Finals in their first pro season, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise to see other leagues follow suit by moving a current franchise or expanding into Las Vegas. The city is the sports betting capital of the world, and with the potential for the major sports leagues to begin making money off of gambling with an integrity fee possibly being introduced, moving a franchise to Vegas makes sense.
3. Montreal, Full-Time
The Rays clearly have an eye on Montreal, and for good reason. Montreal is the only city on this list that has previously had an MLB franchise, with the Montreal Expos capturing the hearts of the city for decades. Though the Expos ultimately folded and were forced to move to DC and become the Washington Nationals, there is good reason to believe that a new franchise in Montreal could be successful. Spring Training games in Montreal have sold out in recent years, and it appears that fan interest in the city has never been higher. Perhaps the Toronto Raptors could use another pro champion in Canada?