Raymond James Stadium

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Raymond James Stadium
Ray Jay
The New Sombrero
Raymond James Stadium aerial.jpg
Location4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, Florida 33607
United States
Coordinates27°58′33″N 82°30′12″W / 27.97583°N 82.50333°W / 27.97583; -82.50333Coordinates: 27°58′33″N 82°30′12″W / 27.97583°N 82.50333°W / 27.97583; -82.50333
OwnerHillsborough County
OperatorTampa Sports Authority
Executive suites195
Capacity65,890 (2013-Present)
65,856 (2008-2012)
65,657 (2001-2007)
66,321 (1998-2000)
*Expandable to 75,000
SurfaceTifway 419 Bermuda
Construction
Broke groundOctober 15, 1996[1]
OpenedSeptember 20, 1998
Construction cost$168.5 million
($244 million in 2014 dollars[2])
ArchitectHOK Sport (now Populous)
Structural engineerBliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Services engineerFSC-Inc.[3]
General contractorHunt/Metric Joint Venture[4]
Tenants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) (1998–present)
Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) (1999–2001)
USF Bulls (NCAA) (1998–present)
Outback Bowl (NCAA) (1999–present)
Tampa Bay Bandits (A11FL) (2014-present)
 
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Raymond James Stadium
Ray Jay
The New Sombrero
Raymond James Stadium aerial.jpg
Location4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, Florida 33607
United States
Coordinates27°58′33″N 82°30′12″W / 27.97583°N 82.50333°W / 27.97583; -82.50333Coordinates: 27°58′33″N 82°30′12″W / 27.97583°N 82.50333°W / 27.97583; -82.50333
OwnerHillsborough County
OperatorTampa Sports Authority
Executive suites195
Capacity65,890 (2013-Present)
65,856 (2008-2012)
65,657 (2001-2007)
66,321 (1998-2000)
*Expandable to 75,000
SurfaceTifway 419 Bermuda
Construction
Broke groundOctober 15, 1996[1]
OpenedSeptember 20, 1998
Construction cost$168.5 million
($244 million in 2014 dollars[2])
ArchitectHOK Sport (now Populous)
Structural engineerBliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Services engineerFSC-Inc.[3]
General contractorHunt/Metric Joint Venture[4]
Tenants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) (1998–present)
Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) (1999–2001)
USF Bulls (NCAA) (1998–present)
Outback Bowl (NCAA) (1999–present)
Tampa Bay Bandits (A11FL) (2014-present)

Raymond James Stadium, also known as the "Ray Jay",[5] is a multi-purpose football stadium located in Tampa, Florida. It is home to the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as the NCAA's South Florida Bulls football team. The stadium seats 65,908,[6] and it is expandable to 75,000 for special events. The stadium also hosts the annual Outback Bowl on New Year's Day; the annual pinnacle of USA equestrian showjumping, the AGA/Budweiser American Invitational; and the Monster Jam monster truck event after the end of football season in January or February.

Raymond James Stadium hosted Super Bowl XXXV on January 28, 2001 between the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants and Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals.

History[edit]

Raymond James Stadium was built to replace Tampa Stadium at the demand of new Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer. It is located adjacent to the site of the old stadium on the former location of Al Lopez Field, a minor league baseball stadium that had been demolished in 1989. Once completed, the final cost of the new stadium was $168.5 million, with the entire cost publicly financed.[7] It was known as Tampa Community Stadium during construction, but the naming rights were bought for $32.5 million for a thirteen–year deal by St. Petersburg-based Raymond James Financial in June 1998.[8] On April 27, 2006 an extension was signed to maintain naming rights through 2015.

The stadium officially opened on September 20, 1998, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears, 27–15. The stadium hosted its first soccer game on March 20, 1999, when the Tampa Bay Mutiny lost to D.C. United, 5–2.

The stadium was selected to host the ACC Championship Game in 2008 and 2009.

On September 28, 2007, the (then ranked #18) University of South Florida Bulls set a record at Raymond James Stadium with a crowd of 67,018 when they played (then ranked #5) West Virginia. This record remained the largest non-Super Bowl crowd in the stadium's history until September 29, 2012 when the University of South Florida Bulls played the Florida State University Seminoles before a crowd of 69,383.

The largest crowd ever recorded in Raymond James Stadium came on October 9, 2009, with U2’s 360° Tour. More than 72,000 people were in attendance.[9]

Until 2010, every Buccaneers game at Raymond James Stadium sold out. In 2010, all home games failed to sell out and could not be broadcast on local television. The streak carried over until week 4 of the 2011 season when it sold enough tickets for its Monday Night game with the Indianapolis Colts on October 3rd to avoid a local blackout.

The stadium was also home to the former Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer and continues to periodically host soccer matches due to its accommodating field dimensions. For example, on June 8, 2012, it hosted the United States men's national soccer team's opening qualifying match against Antigua and Barbuda for the 2014 FIFA World Cup where the United States won 3-1.[10]

Features[edit]

The pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium

One of the most recognizable features of the stadium is a 103-foot (31 m), 43–ton steel-and-concrete replica pirate ship, which fires soft-rubber footballs and confetti each time that the Bucs score points or enter the other team's red zone. The cannon fires once for each point scored. In addition, when the Buccaneers enter their opponent's red zone, stadium hosts hoist team flags around the perimeter of the upper deck. During various times throughout the game, the song "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" is played on the stadium public address system (taken from Pirates of the Caribbean), which signals patrons onboard the ship to throw beads, t–shirts, and other free prizes to the people below. The segment is also known as a "Mini Gasparilla" to most fans. An animated parrot sits on the stern of the pirate ship. Controlled by radio and remote control, the parrot picks fans out of the crowd and talks to those passing by.[11]

During Super Bowl XXXV on CBS, the pre–game, halftime, and post–game desk reporting took place from aboard the pirate ship. NBC's Super Bowl XLIII coverage also emanated from the ship.

The two Buc Vision 92-foot (28 m) wide Daktronics video displays are among the largest in the league. Buccaneer Cove features a weathered, two–story fishing village facade, housing stadium concessions and restrooms. All areas of the stadium are ADA compliant.

Temporary bleachers were erected in the end zones for Super Bowl XXXV, and the attendance was a then-stadium record 71,921.

In 2003, the corner billboards in the stadium were replaced with rotating trilon billboards.

Raymond James Stadium boasts the 2nd best turf in the NFL, according to a 2009 biannual players' survey.[12]

Nicknames[edit]

The stadium is referred to as "Ray Jay" or "The New Sombrero", a spinoff from "The Big Sombrero", the nickname of old Tampa Stadium. Somewhat derisively, it is also sometimes referred to as "the CITS", a name coined by long-time local sportscaster Chris Thomas which stands for "Community Investment Tax Stadium".[13] On occasion during radio broadcasts of games, Buccaneers' radio play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff refers to the stadium as "Jesse James Stadium".

Timeline[edit]

Buccaneer game action at Raymond James Stadium
Panoramic view from The Pirate Ship during the 2009 off-season
Panoramic view from The Pirate Ship during the 2009 off-season

Gallery[edit]

Notable football games[edit]

Super Bowls

NFL Playoff Games

College Football Games

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Patriots Sign Byars". Lakeland Ledger. October 16, 1996. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Sports Facilities - FSC-Inc.
  4. ^ Ballparks.com Raymond James Stadium
  5. ^ "U2 Fans Line Up Before Dawn at Ray Jay Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ Stadium FAQ
  7. ^ a b Testerman, Jeff (January 25, 2001). "Super Bowl 2001: We Paid for It; It Paid Off". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bucs' New Stadium Gets A Name, New name is 'The Raymond James Stadium'". CBS News. December 13, 1999. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  9. ^ Daly, Sean (October 10, 2009). "U2 Delivers a Transcendent Performance in Tampa". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  10. ^ Godfrey, John (June 9, 2012). "A World Cup Qualifying Victory Lacks Quality for the U.S". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Raymond James Stadium | Stadium Facts". Raymondjames.com. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Top Turf in the NFL? Cards Best, Steelers Worst". ESPN.com. January 29, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ Deggans, Eric (February 20, 2004). "Chris Thomas Touched Us All". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Bucs Stay in Tampa With a Big Price Tag". Milwaukee Journal. January 17, 1995. Retrieved February 14, 2009. [dead link]
  15. ^ Williams, Chareen (December 7, 1995). Tampa Still Hopeful Bucs Will Stay Put "Tampa Still Hopeful Bucs Will Stay Put". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ Harry, Chris (July 24, 2005). "Fantastic Voyage". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  17. ^ Henderson, Joe (September 28, 1995). "Chipping In: Malcolm Glazer Says He'll Pay "About Half" the Cost of a New Stadium As a Seat-Deposit Plan Is Unveiled". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  18. ^ Washington, Wayne (September 18, 1998). "Stadium Rose Despite Challenges". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  19. ^ "In Pictures: The Most Valuable NFL Teams". Forbes.com. September 12, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2009. [dead link]
  20. ^ Testerman, Jeff (January 24, 2003). "Stadium Tax Helped Pay for Bucs' Success". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  21. ^ Canning, Michael (September 29, 2001). "Former Mayor's Opinion of Stadium Hasn't Changed". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  22. ^ Varian, Bill (April 18, 2003). "Tampabay: Tax Bill Swells as Bucs Stall". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  23. ^ Varian, Bill (March 6, 2003). "Hillsborough: Hillsborough Votes Yes on Plan to Own Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  24. ^ Varian, Bill (December 18, 2003). "Hillsborough: County Act Ends Tax on Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Tampa Stadium/Houlihan's Stadium
Home of the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1998 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
Tampa Stadium/Houlihan's Stadium
Home of the
Tampa Bay Mutiny

1999 – 2001
Succeeded by
last stadium
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
University of Phoenix Stadium
Host of the Super Bowl
XXXV 2001
XLIII 2009
Succeeded by
Louisiana Superdome
Sun Life Stadium