After years of speculation and courtship, the Tampa Bay Rays are finally expected to announce Friday that they want to relocate the team to Tampa, according to Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan. Rays Principal owner Stuart Sternberg will for the first time state publicly that the team’s preferred location for a new ballpark is in Ybor City near the Channel District, the commissioner said. "This is a major step," said Hagan, who added he was given this news from the team. "I’m hopeful this will continue to build momentum on our effort to bring the Tampa Bay Rays to Ybor. "Tomorrow’s announcement will go a long way toward that, and I imagine at some point in the near future they’ll announce their ballpark design." A news conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Tampa Baseball Museum. If all goes as planned, the first Rays game in Tampa could take place in 2022 or 2023. But financing for a new stadium is not yet in place and could take months to hammer out. The Rays have an agreement with the City of St. Petersburg that allows them to search for a new ballpark through January 2019. A Rays spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.