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St. Pete mayor speaks out on Rays-Rowdies deal

Margie Manning

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Photo courtesy of City of St. Pete Flickr.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says the planned purchase of the Tampa Bay Rowdies by the Tampa Bay Rays is a positive development.

The acquisition will give the Rays control of the Rowdies soccer club as  well as Al Lang Stadium, according to WTSP 10 News.

Requests for comment from the Rays and from the Rowdies were not immediately returned.

Rays President Brian Auld was briefing the mayor and St. Petersburg City Council today on the deal, WTSP reported.

Bill Edwards, chairman, CEO and governor of the Rowdies, purchased the team in December 2013 and since then took over management of Al Lang Stadium, on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. Under his ownership, the stadium was completely refurbished.

“Mr. Edwards deserves much appreciation for remaking the Tampa Bay Rowdies and investing in Al Lang Stadium and our community,” Kriseman said in a statement. “Similarly, the Tampa Bay Rays’ leadership has remade their baseball organization and placed considerable emphasis on community engagement. I am confident that this is a positive development for all parties, the great fans of both teams, and the City of St. Petersburg.”

Photo courtesy of city of St. Petersburg Flickr

A press conference is planned for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Mahaffey Theater, a spokesman for the mayor said.

The Rays unveiled plans for a stadium in Ybor City in July. More than a decade ago, the Rays proposed building an open-air stadium at the Al Lang site, but abandoned that plan in 2009.

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