A temporary downtown Tampa waterfront stadium has been proposed by the new women’s Super League Tampa Bay team debuting in August 2024, with the owners working with Hillsborough County Public Schools on upgrades to an existing pitch.
Super League Tampa Bay would provide permanent upgrades to the stadium, located along the Hillsborough River in Tampa’s fast-growing West River neighborhood. A proposal by school district staff and the team to establish the partnership will go before the Hillsborough County School Board for a vote on October 17.
“The spirit of competition is very strong in us, but so is the spirit of community. Our team is ready to deliver a positive impact that benefits families in Tampa Bay, and this partnership would elevate everyone,” said Christina Unkel, Super League Tampa Bay President, via press release.
If the School Board approves, the team will pay for enhancements that would transform the stadium, expanding its capacity from 1,800 to around 5,000, installing new FIFA-approved turf, and adding additional upgrades that will be identified as plans are completed. The team will also work with school leaders to identify beautification projects on the adjacent Howard W. Blake High School campus.
Off the field, the team has started conversations with the neighboring school to discuss innovative ways to deliver a positive impact for students. Potential efforts include empowering music students to create one of the musical chants sung by fans during games, involving TV production students in live game broadcasts, and engaging math and engineering classes in hands-on experiences during the stadium upgrades and, once the team begins play in August 2024, showcasing the math behind sports and business.
Blake shares a history with Middleton High School as the only two high schools open to Black students during the segregation era. Today, Blake and its extensive network of Yellow Jacket alumni carry on the school’s legacy as a light of learning for people of all backgrounds, while adding one of the top Performing Arts magnet programs in Florida.
Located a quick walk or water taxi ride from Downtown activity hubs such as the Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa Heights, Armature Works, and the University of Tampa, the temporary stadium will host the club’s first several seasons while a permanent soccer-specific stadium is being planned.
Games will be played primarily on Saturday nights and the team will continue to hold its daily training at its Ybor City Training Facility, minimizing any impact on the neighboring school.
The new Super League Tampa Bay team is led by local real-estate developer Darryl Shaw, restaurateur and former professional sports team owner David Laxer, and tech executive Jeff Fox.
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