Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Foster May Have Won if He Talked More Rowdies

One of the biggest successes of Rick Kriseman's mayoral campaign was using the word "Rays" at least 100 times for every utterance of the word "Rowdies."  The challenger was able to turn one of Mayor Bill Foster's strengths in St. Pete - sporting events - into a weakness (Karl Rove would be proud).

Similarly, Foster should have played better to his strengths.  Under his watch: the Rays kept playing in St. Pete, the Honda Grand Prix enjoyed four great years, international baseball teams started playing games at Al Lang Field, and St. Pete lured the Rowdies over from Tampa.

The soccer club drew a modest 4,051 fans per game to Downtown St. Pete, and now, the city is considering a $1 million upgrade to make the stadium more soccer-friendly (reportedly, paid for by the team).

But the Trib's Christopher O'Donnell also reports that "a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute recently recommended that the waterfront sports facility could be razed to make way for a multipurpose stadium" to open up the city's waterfront.

Could St. Pete be looking at a new Stadium Saga?


  1. Though I understand where that study was coming from, you don't get much more "open" than St. Pete's current waterfront. Interesting idea they had "linking the entire waterfront together" from Vinoy Park to Demens Landing. Be kind of a long walk though.

    Anyway, I like Al Lang just fine where it is. Have no problem either with making it more soccer friendly. Love the enthusiasm and spirit those soccer crowds bring to downtown, from Crowley's on Central to McDinton's and The Kitchen on First. Funny how that sport seems to (finally?) be up and coming, and other sports are (perhaps?) starting a slow fade.

  2. A brand new Soccer-Specific Stadium or a Multi-purpose venue (with the Rowdies being the primary tenants) would be ideal to replace Al Lang Stadium in its current form. Soccer's popularity in the U.S. has risen quite steadily and there's a great fan-base here in the Tampa Bay area.

    St. Pete cannot hang their hats on baseball, which is a sport that has been in decline for quite some time. The baseball tournaments that Al Lang Stadium has hosted these past few years have been utter failures in terms of attendance. At the same time, the Rowdies have had near-sellout games. It can only get better if they're able to build a stadium that's fit for Soccer.

  3. (Noah) An interesting article about our "stadium saga"...

    1. Written by a freelance writer who just graduated college and has no intimate knowledge of Tampa Bay. And the story includes paid editorial in the bottom of it.

      There were many factual inaccuracies that kept me from re-posting that story. Such as "the MLB has an antitrust exemption that gives the Yankees, Mets, and Phillies the right to block any invasions from other teams." In reality, the antitrust exemption ALLOWS the league to maintain a monopoly and move teams wherever it wants. But I digress.

      One thing he is right on: MLB might profit more by moving the team to another region. That's not to say it's likely anytime soon, however.