Jump To MLS Not A Priority For Rays After Deal For USL Rowdies
Rays President Matt Silverman, whose team just bought the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies, said that a "jump to MLS is not a top priority" for the club, according to Topkin & Page of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Both the Rowdies and Rays will "maintain separate front offices, but the deal will provide the opportunity to combine some operations, some mundanely administrative, such as payroll and HR; some exploratory, such as athletic training, recovery and injury prevention; and some from the business side, such as selling sponsorship packages for both teams and possibly ticket deals." The deal "won't become official until Oct. 11, at the earliest," as that is the next time the St. Petersburg City Council could "approve the deal, a necessary step since the sale includes reauthorization of the Rowdies' lease to play at Al Lang Stadium." Rowdies Owner Bill Edwards said that the current agreement "stipulates that only the Rowdies can play at Al Lang for the duration of the current contract, which runs through Nov. 30, 2020." He also said that his agreement with the Rays has a "clause that the Rowdies play at Al Lang for at least the next five years." Silverman said that the five-year commitment was "not an issue." With the lease "expiring in two years, the Rays will have to work out a new deal with the city to fulfill the five-year promise" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/3).
I WANNA ROCK! Officials from the Rays and Rowdies said that Edwards will continue "booking live music" at Al Lang Stadium, including an "expanded slate of concerts" in '19 under the moniker "Al Lang Live." Edwards: "The whole goal is to get eight or 10 a year, maybe 11." In Tampa, Jay Cridlin notes Edwards’ management contract with the city has "required him to book at least 10 nonsoccer events there throughout each year." While the Rays will now "assume management of Al Lang, they have contracted Edwards to continue booking shows there" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/3).