TAMPA (FOX 13) - The Hillsborough County Commission has approved a lease that keeps the Yankees's spring training in Tampa until 2046.
Steinbrenner Field will get a major upgrade, to the tune of $40 million, which will be split between the team, the state and the county.
The stadium first opened in 1996. Now, after 20 years, Steinbrenner Field will get new entrances, a walkway that goes around the outfield fence, new areas to socialize - both inside and out - new seats and new shaded areas.
"We are proud of this building. We are proud of how it looks, how we have operated it, how we have maintained it... But we wanted to do something to take this building forward for 30 years."said Yankees CFO Tony Bruno. "We want this to look like a great facility to come visit. We know how many of our fans come down from New York, and what it means to this area."
The plan was approved unanimously on Wednesday by Hillsborough County Commissioners.
If the team leaves before 2046, it would have to pay $500,000 per year, from the time it left until the end of the contract.
If the county allows another team to build a spring training site, the Yankees would be entitled to improvements to keep pace with that stadium.
"We recognize that we are making significant improvements, and we felt like it was important to us be there to stand behind them," said Bruno.
The plan still has to pass several more boards. The hope is to start work as soon as possible, so at least some of it can be done by spring training.