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Walt Disney World To Host Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training In 2023

Major League Baseball is coming back to Walt Disney World Resort in 2023!


Walt Disney World on Tuesday announced it has come to an agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays to host a portion of the team’s spring training at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.


Following damage to the Tampa Bay Rays’ facilities in Port Charlotte, Florida caused by Hurricane Ian in September, Walt Disney World Resort is able to offer the team professional-grade facilities and its renowned hospitality as they hold a portion of their spring training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.


Walt Disney World To Host Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training In 2023


"We are thankful for Disney's willingness and ability to accommodate our unexpected Spring Training needs," Rays team president Matt Silverman said in a statement. "ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will provide our players and coaches with first-class facilities for their annual ramp up to the season."


The agreement allows the team's major and minor league players to begin workouts at the complex in early February. They will then move their major league operations to St. Petersburg, while minor league workouts and games will continue at the stadium on Disney's property.


"We are thrilled to be bringing Major League Baseball back to Walt Disney World Resort," Disney Sports vice president Faron Kelley said in a news release. "We're always looking for top tier events, like the Rays' Spring Training for our guests to enjoy at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex."


Walt Disney World To Host Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training In 2023

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has a long history of hosting professional baseball, having served as the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves for 20 years (1998-2019) and as a host site for the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic, featuring major league players.


The Tampa Bay Rays have also previously used ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as their home base. In 2007, they played three regular season games at The Stadium and won all three against the Texas Rangers. The following year, they swept a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, bringing their all-time record at Walt Disney World Resort to 6-0.


The Rays said earlier this month that the team and Port Charlotte officials intend to develop a restoration plan for the Charlotte Sports Park.


"We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts," the team said then in a statement.


Walt Disney World To Host Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training In 2023

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