MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays Purchase the Tampa Bay Rowdies
26 Dec, 2018
The Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL Championship announced the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team has purchased the storied professional soccer club from former owner Bill Edwards. Per league practice, financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“As the USL Championship continues to expand and firmly root itself in the American professional soccer landscape, it continues to draw growing interest from experienced and sophisticated investors like the Tampa Bay Rays organization,” said United Soccer League CEO Alec Papadakis. “I am excited to welcome the Rays into the league’s ownership group, the third Major League Baseball ownership group to join the USL. I am also incredibly grateful for the long-term contributions of former Rowdies owner Bill Edwards. Bill was a model owner and played a major role not only in the successful resurgence of his club but in the overall growth of the league.”
As part of the deal, current Rays Presidents Matthew Silverman and Brian Auld will become Vice Chairmen of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, overseeing all aspects of the club going forward in concert with Rowdies VP & COO Lee Cohen.
“I am thrilled to join a successful and forward-looking organization as the USL and believe there is a very bright future ahead for the beloved Rowdies,” said Silverman. “This community is a hotbed for soccer- from the strong youth participation to the thousands who pack Al Lang Stadium each week clad in green, yellow and white. I look forward to working with our supporters and community partners to build upon the success of the club and grow the Rowdies brand into one of the most vibrant in all of professional soccer.”
Edwards accomplished much during his tenure as owner of the Rowdies, returning the iconic club to its former prestige within the Tampa Bay community. Edwards purchased the club in 2013 and invested millions of dollars into Al Lang Stadium, converting it into one of the most unique and picturesque venues in the sport. Edwards was recognized during a special tribute at the Rowdies’ final home game on Oct. 6 at Al Lang Stadium.
The USL: The United Soccer League (USL) is the largest professional soccer organization in North America, possessing nearly a decade of experience in bringing the world’s game to communities across the United States and Canada. Overseeing the USL Championship, USL League One, and USL League Two, the organization is built on a proven and recognized model in international football and counts more than 100 clubs in its membership.
Based in Tampa, Florida, the USL has grown over the past decade into a model organization with strong corporate partnerships, stable organizational leadership and a dedicated staff that provides outstanding support to member clubs and outside partners. Sanctioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation and Canadian Soccer Association, the USL is #UnitedForSoccer, moving the game forward in the United States and Canada.