Walt Disney World to host Tampa Bay Rays spring training

Rays’ facilities in Southwest Florida damaged by hurricane

FILE - A sign marking the entrance to ESPN's Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., is seen in this Wednesday, June 3, 2020, file photo. Sports media giant ESPN announced Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, that it is cutting about 500 jobs from its global workforce and laying off about 300 employees. The company said the cuts are due in large part to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business and the tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (John Raoux, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – 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 the team’s spring training at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The move to Central Florida comes after the team’s facilities in Port Charlotte were damaged by Hurricane Ian back in September. Walt Disney World Resort said its looking forward to providing professional-grade facilities and world-famous hospitality to the players and coaches.

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

Major League spring training workouts run from Feb. 6 through March 1, with early arrivals reporting on Feb. 6. Pitchers and catchers will report the following week on Feb. 14.

“We are thrilled to be bringing Major League Baseball back to Walt Disney World Resort,” said Faron Kelley, vice president of Disney Sports. “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.”

ESPN Wide World of Sports was the Atlanta Braves spring training home for two decades and was a host site for the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic, which features major-league players. In 2007 the Rays played three regular-season games at the stadium, winning all three against the Texas Rangers. A year later, the Rays swept a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, improving their record to 6-0 all-time at Walt Disney World Resort.

Tampa Bay is entering 2023 with high expectations after making it to the playoffs for the last four seasons.

More information about spring training games, including locations and ticketing details will be released in January.

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About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.