During a visit to New York, St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman reportedly met with MLS commissioner Don Garber to bolster his city’s chances of landing an expansion franchise.
If a pitch from Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards comes to fruition, St. Petersburg would be the home of an MLS expansion team. Edwards is proposing a privately-financed renovation to Al Lang Stadium, which would be done to bring the facility to MLS standards. Shortly after that concept was unveiled in December, the Tampa Bay become one of 10 expansion candidates to be identified by the MLS.
The timing of Kriseman’s visit alights with that effort. Edwards and other investors in pursuit of an expansion franchise must submit their applications by January 31, so Kriseman was able to meet with Garber and deliver a case for his city. More from The Tampa Bay Times:
Kriseman met with Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber first for about an hour at the commissioner’s office.
They discussed the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ bid to join MLS. Garber, the mayor said, was impressed with the region’s television market and population base. Kriseman emphasized St. Petersburg’s demographics—a city getting younger and more diverse—as a a good fit for MLS, whose fan base skews the same way.
Though the renovation is being privately financed, Kriseman and other St. Petersburg officials must secure a referendum and reach a long-term agreement with the Rowdies before the project can come to fruition.
As The Times notes, that was not the only sports-related business that Kriseman handled during his recent trip to New York. In a separate pitch, he met with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred about a potential new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays.
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