Tampa Bay Rowdies take major step in MLS push as St. Petersburg residents vote in favor of Al Lang Stadium referendum

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Rowdies 2 MLS

The Tampa Bay Rowdies took another important step towards bringing a Major League Soccer franchise to Tampa Bay on Tuesday, as St. Petersburg voters approved the Al Lang Stadium referendum by an overwhelming majority with 87% of the votes.

Residents of St. Petersburg came out in significant numbers to support #MLS2StPete and approve the referendum, 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 & 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.”

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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,” said Edwards. “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 Rowdies hosted a Victory Party at Al Lang Stadium on Tuesday night, where hundreds of fans showed up to celebrate another historic 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,” said City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “The Rowdies’ future in the Sunshine City has never been brighter.”

After the results were made public, The Edwards Group President and former City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker took the stage to celebrate the victory.

“Today is a great day for St. Pete and Rowdies soccer,” said Baker. “The loud and clear message is that our city and region are enthused and ready for Major League Soccer.”

After receiving the positive news, St. Petersburg City Council Chairwoman Darden Rice expressed her satisfaction with the outcome of the election.

“I am thrilled with the outcome of the referendum,” said Rice. “This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our city. Our message to MLS is simple: we want you in St. Pete!”

The Tampa Bay Rowdies need support as they continue their push to join Major League Soccer. They invite fans to come out and fill the stands at our next home game on Saturday, May 13, when the Rowdies face Louisville City FC. For tickets, call (727) 222-2000 or click here.

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