Commissioners voted 4-0 Tuesday to pay $4.8 million for the 1.2 acres south of downtown Sarasota. Plans call for a 10,000 seat stadium at the site.
Commissioner Joe Barbetta said buying the land was the only way to land the Red Sox. Sarasota is trying to replace the Cincinnati Reds, who will depart for Goodyear, Ariz., after the 2009 spring training season.
Sarasota has been courting the Red Sox for months, but no deal has been reached. The team has trained in Fort Myers since 1993.
If the Red Sox don't move to Sarasota, the land will be converted into a park.