ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Ownership of the Tampa Bay Rays announced Tuesday they would buy the Rowdies and Al Lang Stadium, but many are still asking why a major league baseball team want to get into the soccer business.
He wouldn't give a price tag, but Rowdies owner Bill Edwards says the Rays will take over the Rowdies at the end of the season, along with a contract with the city of St. Pete to control Al Lang Stadium.
“The Rays are committed to our ballpark plan in Ybor and the Rowdies are committed to playing at Al Lang... each with unique cultures that we will nourish,” Tampa Bay Rays’ Matt Silverman said.
There's been a lot of speculation on the takeover, but it’s important to consider the history.
Back in 2008, the Rays proposed building a new baseball stadium at the Al Lang site.
Right now, the Rays are working to get funding to leave Tropicana Field for Ybor City, despite the fact that it would be much cheaper for them to stay in St. Pete, where there're more tax dollars than in Tampa.
The team and Edwards say there's no connection.
“There's no conspiracy... We made it clear [the Rowdies] had to play here for the next five years, at least and they will and they agreed to it,” Edwards said.
The Rowdies tried and failed to get into Major League Soccer last year. While fans still have questions, after Tuesday’s announcement, they hope this could take their Rowdies to the next level.