10 News’ Noah Pransky connects the dots between the recent push by Bill Edwards to have the North American Soccer League added to a list of sports leagues eligible for state subsidies and the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ desire for a new stadium:
Edwards confirmed to 10 News … that he’d like to see a new, 18,000-20,000-seat stadium on St. Petersburg’s waterfront, although his immediate priority is getting the team’s current home, Al Lang Field, up to league standards.
Last week, as detailed in the Shadow of the Stadium sports business blog, Edwards started putting the wheels in motion for a new stadium by successfully lobbying the state legislature to include the minor-league North American Soccer League (NASL) in groups eligible for state stadium subsidies. Previously, only the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB were eligible for the $2 million annual stadium subsidies.
But on Friday, Edwards acknowledged the state subsidies – which will now be approved by the governor’s Department of Economic Opportunity, rather than the legislature – were on the table for a potential new soccer stadium, ideally on St. Petersburg’s waterfront.