The Hillsborough County School Board approved a landmark partnership in October with Tampa Bay’s new top-tier women’s pro soccer team. Under the agreement, Super League Tampa Bay (SLTB) will pay the full cost to upgrade and expand the waterfront stadium adjacent to Blake High School in downtown Tampa. Starting in August 2024, the stadium will serve as the temporary home for the team, hosting its games for its first several seasons until it moves to its permanent home.
The team expects to invest more than $4 million in stadium enhancements, with the exact amount determined by the final design. These will be permanent upgrades, at no cost to taxpayers. Discussions are also underway for the team to create new opportunities for Blake students in music, performing arts, TV production as well as math and engineering.
“This is a unique public-private partnership that creates fantastic opportunities for our students and our entire community,” said Van Ayres, interim superintendent for Hillsborough County Public Schools.
“On the field, our athletes will have access to excellent new high-end facilities. Off the field, we’ll have new opportunities for hands-on learning for all the students at the school,” Ayres said. “Plus, our whole community will see the benefits of investing in our schools to create a stronger future for all of us.”
Transformational enhancements paid for by the team will include expanding the stadium’s capacity from 1,800 to around 5,000, installing new FIFA-approved turf, upgrading locker room facilities, beautification projects on the adjacent Blake campus and more.
“As a fan, this location unlocks an entire evening of fun with so many hubs of activity around Downtown Tampa. You can have dinner with friends, then hop on a water taxi or stroll to the Riverwalk and ‘march to the match’ to cheer for your team,” SLTB President Christina Unkel said.
Along with the potential for an energized atmosphere before, during and after the club’s Saturday night home games, SLTB also looked to the stadium along the Hillsborough River to have a positive impact on children through this partnership, have the field ready for kickoff in August 2024 and allow excellent access for fans.
The team will hold its daily training at its Ybor City Training Facility and collaborate with school administrators to minimize any impact on the neighboring school. A soccer-specific stadium in a yet-to-be-determined location is being planned to serve as the team’s permanent home.
Deposits for season tickets, $24 each for the club’s August 2024 debut, are available now. Visit https://shop.superleaguetampabay.com/products/season-ticket-deposit to sign up.