The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced Wednesday that the club has signed a four-year agreement keeping the Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg through the 2016 season.
Al Lang Stadium has been the home of the Rowdies since 2011.
"The Rowdies are an important part of the Tampa Bay community and are proud to be an integral part of St. Pete's growing downtown landscape," said Rowdies Owner & President Andrew Nestor in a news release. "St. Pete has embraced the club and we will continue to build on the amazing stadium atmosphere at Al Lang."
According to the city, the Rowdies have seen a steady increase in season ticket sales and paid attendance since moving to Al Lang Stadium. Not only did the modern-day Rowdies have the highest total number of paid single game ticket sold in the 2012 season, but season tickets increased by 65% over the 2011 season.
The club has been fully embraced by the St. Petersburg community, and is proud to be a part of the vibrant, burgeoning downtown arts and entertainment district, a news release said. According to the Rowdies, 42% of current season ticket holders are from Hillsborough County and 53% of current season ticket holders from Pinellas County.
Heading into the 2013 season, more improvements will be made to a soccer-specific Al Lang Stadium to create a better fan experience, according to the city. The most evident change will be a new field configuration with the pitch running North to South. The Field Level Club will replace the East-side Beer Garden and will become a new club fan area for all games featuring exclusive in-game VIP hospitality, and the stadium will feature field-side seats right next to the player benches. Sidelines will also be closer to the first row of seats.
"I'm delighted with the news that the Rowdies will be still based at Al Lang," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill in a news release. "The atmosphere the fans have generated at Al Lang is unique and there is no other venue in this league that makes more noise than what Al Lang generates when fans get behind the players and I'm sure it gives the players an adrenaline boost that they need during matches. The players and our staff are excited to continue to play at Al Lang Stadium, as they have always been open to helping the Rowdies grow as a club."
"St. Petersburg is excited to provide a home for the Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium for years to come," said Mayor Bill Foster in a news release. "The city and the team are already working on improvements to make Al Lang a great stadium for both the players and the fans. And, with the support of the city and the St. Petersburg Sports Alliance, we are committed to join with the Rowdies to ensure the team's success in St. Petersburg, both on and off the field."