Tampa Bay Rays search for new spring training facility due to damage from Hurricane Ian

The Tampa Bay Rays and emergency managers from Charlotte County, Florida, said that they decided to relocate due to extensive damage from the Category 4 storm.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays won't hold their spring training next year at Charlotte Sports Park because of damage to the facility caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays and emergency managers from Charlotte County, Florida, said in a joint press release Thursday that they decided to relocate from Port Charlotte in 2023 due to the extensive damage caused by the storm that made landfall in Southwest Florida on Sept. 28 with ferocious winds and devastating storm surge.

"Charlotte County and the Tampa Bay Rays have determined there is not adequate time before the Rays 2023 spring training is scheduled to begin to get the park in suitable condition to host games," the joint statement said.  

Hurricane Ian came ashore about 30 miles south of Port Charlotte. The monstrous Category 4 hurricane with 150-mph winds obliterated everything in its path.

Homes in Port Charlotte sustained significant damage, and residents were without power for weeks. 

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

The Rays said they intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks but did not mention where they would hold spring baseball

The Tampa Bay Rays have been holding spring camp at Charlotte Sports Park since 2009.