On Tuesday, December 6 the Tampa Bay Rowdies unveiled a campaign to generate local support to show Major League Soccer that the Rowdies are ready to be the next expansion team. This plan includes a privately funded renovation and expansion for Al Lang Stadium.
The Rowdies were the first pro sport franchise in Tampa Bay and over the course of 41 years have brought thrills, fun and TWO North American Soccer League titles to the area. “This move will bring national and international exposure to St. Petersburg, while also boosting tourism in the area. Bringing Major League Soccer to St. Petersburg will be a great economic driver for the entire region, and will serve as another platform to unify fans on both sides of the bay,” said Rowdies Chairman and CEO Bill Edwards.
The expansion of Al Lang will provide the public with an expanded multi-use venue for sporting events, festivals and concerts, while allowing for the long term success of the Rowdies. All updates will operate in harmony with the Mahaffey Theater, the Dali, Saturday Morning Market and Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete while allowing for the long term success of the Rowdies.
The expansion will also create a waterfront view corridor from the stadium seats east into the bay. Most importantly, the expansion will be built on the existing site and not protrude into the surrounding streets or water.
“Major League Soccer has met with Bill Edwards and is aware of the Rowdies’ campaign to bring an MLS expansion team to the Tampa/St. Petersburg market,” said MLS Executive Vice President Dan Courtemanche. “There is a rich tradition of professional soccer in the area dating back more than 40 years, and we are impressed with their vision and plans for a world-class soccer stadium on the downtown waterfront in St. Petersburg. We look forward to learning more about their plans in the coming months.”
How can the Tampa Bay community help the Rowdies become an MLS squad? The league has made it clear that it is looking to expand into cities that have demonstrated their support for soccer via season ticket memberships, single game ticket sales and sponsorships. Show your support by voting in the Rowdies poll. You can purchase your season tickets on their website or by calling 727.222.2000.
You can whet your appetite for Rowdies soccer during the Florida Cup, which begins January 8 at Al Lang Stadium.