Major League Lacrosse announced today that the defending champion Chesapeake Bayhawks and the Rochester Rattlers will play a regular-season game at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.
MLL returns to the Sunshine State for the second time, after a successful All-Star Game in Boca Raton last season, as it contemplates future expansion. The game will serve as the Rattlers' home opener.
Al Lang Stadium was the past spring training home to the Orioles, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays. It is now the home venue of the North American Soccer League's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
"The Tampa Bay area is rich with sports tradition, and we look forward to bringing the best in professional lacrosse to its passionate fans," MLL commissioner David Gross said.
The event is being supported by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, whose mission is to generate positive economic impact by hosting professional, college, youth and amateur sporting events in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area.
"This is an exciting opportunity to continue growing the St. Petersburg/Clearwater brand as a world-class destination for sports tourism," said St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commissioner Kevin Smith. "We're fortunate to have partnered with Major League Lacrosse on this, and we look forward to even greater things to come."
"We are thrilled to have Major League Lacrosse in our city," said St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster. "Lacrosse continues to grow in our area and I'm excited that area residents and visitors will have the chance to watch the best lacrosse players in the world compete at Al Lang."
Lacrosse XTreme, Tampa Bay's source for lacrosse gear, will organize a youth tournament as well as other events to turn the day into as full showcase of youth and professional lacrosse.
"We believe that this game is the natural progression of the sport," said Mike Barsanti, owner of Lacrosse Xtreme. "Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in the state of Florida from youth through college; this event will help put our area on the map for lacrosse."
Tickets for the event will go on sale Saturday, Feb. 2 at the 2013 Lacrosse Jamboree in Clearwater. Tickets will also be available (along with full event information) through the event website http://www.MLLTampaBay.com, and at www.LacrosseXtremefl.com, www.tampalacrosse.com and www.extremetix.com.