Rowdies Score Victory with St. Pete Voters
A whopping 87 percent of voters agreed to allow the Tampa Bay Rowdies to renovate and expand Al Lang Stadium.
ST. PETERSBURG – The Tampa Bay Rowdies took another important step today (May 2) towards bringing a Major League Soccer franchise to Tampa Bay as St. Petersburg voters approved the Al Lang Stadium referendum by an overwhelming majority.
Residents of St. Petersburg came out in significant numbers to support #MLS2StPete and approve the referendum with about 87 percent of the vote, which gives City Council the authority to negotiate a long-term use agreement for Al Lang Stadium.
“I am grateful to the citizens of St. Petersburg for passing this important referendum,” said Rowdies Chairman and CEO Bill Edwards. “St. Petersburg is very protective of our incredibly valuable waterfront – as is appropriate. We have put together a stadium plan that enhances our downtown, is of a scale that is respectful to our waterfront and does not burden the taxpayers.”
The use agreement would allow Al Lang Stadium’s primary purpose to be the home field for a potential Major League Soccer team. The $80-million renovation and expansion will be privately funded and is contingent on being awarded an MLS franchise.
“This vote is clear confirmation that St. Petersburg wants and is ready for Major League Soccer,” Edwards said. “I want to specifically thank the city administration and council, the chamber’s Rowdies council and all of those Rowdies fans throughout our region who support this great effort.”
The Rowdiesare hosting a victory party tonight at Al Lang Stadium. Hundreds of fans are expected to show up to celebrate a significant moment in Rowdies history.
“In approving this referendum, voters have not only expressed their support for a longer term agreement at Al Lang Stadium, but have sent a strong message that St. Pete and the entire region are excited about the prospect of the Rowdies joining MLS,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “The Rowdies’ future in the Sunshine City has never been brighter.”
After the results were made public, Edwards Group president and former Mayor Rick Baker said, “Today is a great day for St. Pete and Rowdies soccer. The loud and clear message is that our city and region are enthused and ready for Major League Soccer.”
St. Petersburg Council member Darden Rice expressed her satisfaction with the outcome of the election: “I am thrilled with the outcome of the referendum. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our city. Our message to MLS is simple: we want you in St. Pete!”
For information about the Rowdies, go to rowdiessoccer.com.
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