As many of you know, we have no love lost for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Their colors are ugly, their logo is ugly, their town is butt ugly and they play in a baseball stadium. Playing in a baseball stadium is literally a crime against the sport of soccer. All the idiot new teams play in stadiums that are not designed specifically for soccer including NYCFCYCNCYFNCC and AC Atlanta FC Inter United Atletico City.
With the NASL being the NASL and falling apart around them, the ownership of the Rowdies made a shrewd business decision and moved the team to USL starting this coming season. This move is coupled with the announcement that Tampa Bay are attempting to secure one of the next 4 expansion slots coming up in MLS.
If you are not in a city named New York or Los Angeles or Atlanta, part of securing said expansion from MLS has been a requirement to have a plan for moving into a soccer specific stadium in the very near future.
The Rowdies have a plan.
Here it is:
They have taken a baseball stadium and somehow have made it even worse. It’s like the Headless Horsemen of stadiums. It’s like there was a stadium and then a Michael Bay movie moved diagonally across the field. It’s like an Orlando City game without stoppage time. Yes, they don’t have much to work with at that site but this isn’t about that site, this is about being a great addition to MLS. We could go on but we’ve decided to make this simple. Here are our Top 5 Major Criticisms of the Tampa Bay Rowdies New Stadium Design:
1. IT IS NOT IN TAMPA BAY
One of the huge problems for the Major League Baseball Tampa Bay Rays is the fact that they play in a stadium that is nowhere near Tampa. It’s a huge problem for fans to get to aside from the fact that it’s basically cheating for a team to call themselves Tampa and play in St. Petersburg. That’s like if Orlando City played in Clermont, only Clermont was a major city in its own right.
2. IT IS LITERALLY HALF A STADIUM
Literally, where is the other half of the stadium? Obviously they are right on the water, but why not have at least 3/4s of a stadium? Why not enclose the side that is not on the water? What do we need like a breezeway so that the stench of Rowdies soccer can be moved out into the bay?
3. THERE WOULD BE ALMOST NO CROWD PRESENCE
One of the major features of a stadium is to have crowd presence. A max capacity crowd of all your most ardent supporters screaming encouragement at your team and intimidating the opposing players. This design cuts the entire guts out of any ability of a crowd to contribute to an electric atmosphere which brings us to:
4. THE TV PRESENTATION WOULD UTTERLY SUCK
There are two things that kill a soccer game from a TV perspective: 1. Football lines on the field and 2. Nobody in the stands generating crowd noise. This stadium will have a TV presentation that is missing half the crowd. Even with the attending crowd screaming their heads off, TV viewers will only be able to pick up the occasional dull whisper because all of that noise is going out into Tampa Bay or Clearwater. What above all else is the lifeblood of league building? TV ratings. This stadium would hurt that effort.
5. IT SCREAMS UNPROFESSIONAL
There is nothing worse than watching a Major League Soccer game in a high school football stadium that isn’t in Texas. The reason for this is because it infers that the sport isn’t ready for prime time. Having a brand new expansion team playing in literally half of a stadium and calling it a brand new facility is the very definition of peeing on someone’s foot and saying it’s raining. Nobody would take this seriously because it is a half measure and not something that a rising league really can afford at this time. Look at the upcoming stadiums for Minnesota United, LAFC, and Orlando City’s nearly completed facility, they are freaking gorgeous.
We’re going to do you a solid, Tampa Bay Rowdies, we’re going to advise that you do it better. You must do it better. Yes, as much as we can’t stand you, a team in Tampa is good for MLS, but it has to be done right. Do it right.