The Rowdies have one of the most simple, inexpensive stadium plans among the expansion hopefuls. They already have refurbished seats, the video board, locker rooms and more at Al Lang Stadium, which sits on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. Now Bill Edwards is committed to putting $80 million (plus cost overruns) into expanding the stadium from around 7,200 seats to 18,000. He told SI.com that he intends to ask for no public money and that the city will be on the hook only for some infrastructure upgrades such as sewage.
Al Lang is next to the Mahaffey Theater, the venue that relies on support from The Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts, and the Salvador Dalí museum and is a few blocks from St. Petersburg’s downtown dining and nightlife district on and around Central Ave.
St. Pete/Tampa is an unpredictable, eclectic sports town(s). The population is there, support wavers at times, but success is rewarded. It’s also an event town(s). Four Super Bowls, three Final Fours (one men’s, two women’s), two Frozen Fours and Monday’s College Football Playoff final, among others, have been staged in Tampa or St. Pete. We are in competition with 12 other cities (Sacramento, Atlanta, St. Louis, Nashville, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit).
The size of the market and Edwards’ stadium plan are huge plusses. MLS wants ratings and a population base, and the fact that the Rowdies would play in a downtown, waterfront venue that will cost half as much as many other grounds is unique and extremely appealing. (Information taken from article on SI.com)
Let’s go Rowdies!