Tampa / St. Petersburg
TV Market: Nielsen DMA #11*
Team: Tampa Bay Rowdies – NASL
Venue: The Rowdies current venue, publicly owned Al Lang stadium, would be expanded from 7,800 to 18,000 seats and renovated with private funds. The city would then pay infrastructure costs and continue to lease the waterfront stadium to the Rowdies.
Money: Investment group led by Bill Edwards (Tampa Bay Rowdies owner, former real estate executive)
Summary: Lead investor Bill Edwards made quite a spectacle when he delivered Tampa’s MLS application. Edwards, a former Tampa mayor, and a supporters group traveled to NY to drop off the application. They also sponsored an electronic #MLS2STPETE billboard in Times Square to add to the fanfare. A key vote on the stadium proposal is scheduled for May.
Recent News & Resources:
- 12/6 – Tampa / St. Pete Announces MLS bid and stadium expansion plans [WFLA]
- 1/4 – Tampa Bay City Council Meets to discuss stadium renovation proposal. [Tampa Bay Times]
- 1/4 – Cincinnati Enquirer’s Pat Brennan explores Tampa Bay’s Al Lang stadium and bid for MLS expansion, labeling them “silent assasins.” [Cincinnati Enquirer]
- 1/9 – Tampa Bay / St. Pete MLS Expansion Profile – Brian Straus [SI]
- 1/10 – St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce is creating a special council to promote the Tampa bid. [Tampa Business Journal]
- 1/28 – An Orlando article explores Tampa, Miami, and Orlando and how they are at different stages of the MLS expansion lifecycle. Orlando City SC CEO calls the Tampa bid “very premature.” [Orlando Sentinel]
- 1/30 – Bill Edwards travels to NY to deliver the MLS application in person amid fanfare. [Tampa Times]
- 1/30 – The Tampa presentation at MLS HQ featured dancers in sequin, crates of Florida oranges and Rowdies Pete, their pelican mascot. [Empire of Soccer]