Wednesday morning at 11 AM, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster announced that the East-West Shrine Game will be played in St. Petersburg for the next two years. The announcement was made at Tropicana Field, where the games are scheduled to be played.
The East-West Shrine game is a yearly NCAA football all-star match played between the top players from West Coast and East Coast schools. The game is sponsored by the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and the money raised through the event goes to support their charities.
While the game has been poorly attended over the past few seasons - drawing only around 10,000 fans each year - the Shriners are likely hoping that a change in location will help renew fan interest. The East-West game had been played in Orlando the past few seasons, but St. Petersburg is closer to the Shrine's main charity, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa.
But somehow, I don't see that happening. It's common knowledge that the Rays have to fight tooth and nail to get fans to come to games, so why would fans all of a sudden want to watch a football game in a baseball stadium? I guess we'll see, but I think the Shriners might end up disappointed.