Raymond James Stadium
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Raymond James Stadium
Raymond James Stadium
"Ray Jay"
"The New Sombrero"
Raymond James Stadium logo.png
Raymond James Stadium Pirate Ship.jpg
Address 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway
Location Tampa, Florida
Coordinates 27°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
Owner Hillsborough County
Operator Tampa Sports Authority
Executive suites 195
  • 65,890 (2013-present)
  • (expandable to 75,000)
  • 65,856 (2008-2012)
  • 65,657 (2001-2007)
  • 66,321 (1998-2000)
Record attendance
  • 74,512 (2017 CFP National Championship Game)
Surface Tifway 419 Bermuda
Broke ground October 15, 1996[1]
Opened September 20, 1998
Construction cost US$168.5 million
($253 million in 2017 dollars)[2]
Architect Wagner Murray Architects, Populous (then HOK Sport)
Structural engineer Walter P. Moore, Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Services engineer FSC-Inc.[3]
General contractor Manhattan Construction, Hunt/Metric Joint Venture[4]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) (1998-present)
South Florida Bulls (NCAA) (1998-present)
Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) (1999-2001)
Outback Bowl (NCAA) (1999-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 Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL) as well as the NCAA's South Florida Bulls football team. The stadium seats 65,890.[6] With the addition of temporary seating, it can be expanded to 75,000 for special events.

The stadium also hosts the annual Outback Bowl on New Year's Day and the Monster Jam tour for monster trucks holds an event at the stadium.

Raymond James Stadium hosted Super Bowls XXXV and XLIII, as well as the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. It is also set to host Super Bowl LV in February 2021.


Raymond James Stadium was built to replace Tampa Stadium at the demand of the 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 US$32.5 million for a 13-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. In May 2016 the Buccaneers announced that the naming rights were extended an additional 12 years ensuring that Raymond James Financial's name will continue to appear through 2028.[9]

The stadium officially opened on September 21, 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.

The stadium is home field for the University of South Florida Bulls of the American Athletic Conference. The team's record crowd at Raymond James Stadium is 69,383, on September 29, 2012, when the Bulls - during their worst season ever - played a non-conference game against the popular Florida State University Seminoles from the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time.

The largest crowd ever recorded in Raymond James Stadium came on January 9, 2017 as the stadium hosted the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. 74,512 people were in attendance.

Through to the 2009 season, every Buccaneers game at Raymond James Stadium sold out. In 2010, no home game achieved a ticket sell out, so none could be broadcast on local television. The streak carried over until week four of the 2011 season, when it sold enough tickets for its Monday night game with the Indianapolis Colts on October 3 to avoid a local blackout.


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 replica cannons each time 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 on board 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.[10]

During Super Bowl XXXV on CBS, the pregame, halftime, and post-game desk reporting took place from aboard the pirate ship. NBC's Super Bowl XLIII and ESPN's 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship coverage also emanated from the ship.

The two "Buc Vision" 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) Daktronics video displays were among the largest in the league when they were built. In 2016 they were replaced with 9,600-square foot, high-definition video boards in both end zones. '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, which set a then-record stadium attendance of 71,921. The stadium attendance record has since been surpassed by the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, which also made use of temporary seating.[11]

In 2003, the corner billboards in the stadium were replaced with rotating trilon billboards and these were replaced in 2016 with new high visibility displays.

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

In early 2016, the stadium was given an extensive facelift. The most notable improvement was the replacement of the 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) video displays with state of the art, high visibility 9,600-square-foot (890 m2) video displays in both the north and south end zones along with the addition of a new 2,300-square-foot (210 m2) video tower in each corner. All together, the video displays cover more than 28,000-square-foot (2,600 m2), making Raymond James Stadium the third-largest video displays in the NFL. The original sound system and the stadium's luxury boxes were also upgraded.[13] A second round of improvements are planned for after the 2016 season is complete.


The stadium is referred to as "Ray Jay" or "The New Sombrero", a spinoff from "The Big Sombrero", the nickname of Tampa Stadium. Somewhat derisively, it has been occasionally referred to as "the CITS", a name coined by long-time local sportscaster Chris Thomas which stands for "Community Investment Tax Stadium", referring to the fact that the stadium was entirely financed by local taxpayers.[14]


Buccaneer game action at Raymond James Stadium
  • Immediately upon purchasing the Bucs in 1995, new owner Malcolm Glazer declared Tampa Stadium inadequate and began lobbying local government for a replacement.[15] When the community did not move quickly enough to suit the Glazer family, the new owners openly contacted several other cities around the U.S. about possible relocation.[16]
  • The city of Tampa and Hillsborough County came up with a plan to fund a new stadium as part of a "Community Investment Tax", which was voted on in a referendum in September 1996. As part of the campaign to pass the referendum, Glazer promised to pay half the cost of the new stadium if fans put down 50,000 deposits on 10-year season ticket commitments. The drive fell 17,000 deposits short, the offer was withdrawn, and the Bucs did not pay any of the stadium's construction cost.[17][18]
  • On September 3, 1996, the voters of Hillsborough County, Florida approved, by 53% to 47% margin, a 30-year, half-cent sales tax to build new schools, improve public safety and infrastructure, and to build the Buccaneers a $192 million new stadium entirely with public money.[19] The team signed a stadium lease in which the local government must pay for almost all of the stadium expenses while the franchise keeps almost all of the proceeds.[7][20] Former Tampa mayor Bill Poe sued to stop the deal, claiming that giving such a "sweetheart deal" to a private business violated Florida's state constitution.[21] A local court agreed with Poe, but the Bucs and local government appealed. Eventually, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that the agreement was constitutional, and construction continued as planned.[22]
  • On October 31, 1996, the NFL owners met in New Orleans to select the host site for Super Bowl XXXIII and Super Bowl XXXIV. Pro Player Stadium in the Miami area was selected to host Super Bowl XXXIII. Atlanta, Tempe and Tampa were candidates for Super Bowl XXXIV, with Tampa the favorite, following the successful tax referendum. The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, however, was awarded the game. As a compromise, Tampa was awarded Super Bowl XXXV, which the NFL had not originally planned to select that day.
  • The last Major League Soccer game played at Raymond James Stadium was on September 9, 2001 when the Mutiny lost to the Columbus Crew, 2-1, in front of 9,932 people. Although the September 11 attacks resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of the 2001 MLS regular season, the Mutiny did not have any more home games scheduled anyway. The Mutiny were subsequently disbanded by the league. National-level soccer matches are still occasionally played at Raymond James, as its wide field makes it ideal for hosting soccer.
  • In April 2003, the Tampa Sports Authority proposed passing ownership of the stadium to Hillsborough County to avoid having to pay millions of dollars in property taxes (The Bucs' lease agreement dictated that they not have to pay property taxes). However, Bucs had a right of refusal and refused to sign off on the plan unless the local government paid more of the cost for game-day security and increased the amount of (county-purchased) insurance coverage for the stadium.[23] The dispute continued for months until December 2003, when the county legally declared the stadium a condominium and took ownership. As part of the change, the Bucs were given ownership of portions of the structure. To win the Bucs' approval, the county agreed to refund the team's resultant property tax payments annually.[24][25]
  • On May 25, 2005, NFL owners met in Washington, D.C. to select the host site for Super Bowl XLIII. During the balloting, Raymond James Stadium defeated the Georgia Dome (Atlanta), Reliant Stadium (Houston), and Dolphins Stadium (Miami Gardens).
  • After a nearly two-year legal battle, the Tampa Sports Authority came to a settlement with popular sports-seating and telescopic platform/bleacher company Hussey Seating of North Berwick, Maine. Following the stadium's opening in 1998, roughly 50,000 Hussey-manufactured seats at Raymond James Stadium began to fade from their original color - a bright, vibrant shade of red - to a shade of washed-out pink. Spotting this obvious defect, the Buccaneers organization pleaded to the TSA to sue the seating manufacturing company for the cost to replace the affected chairs in 2003. Initially, in May 2004, after testing samples of the seats, Hussey Seating did not find any cause for the fading, and thus, found no reason to replace the seats at the company's cost under the current 10-year warranty. After the TSA cited a portion of the warranty which did, in fact, state that Hussey would replace seats if any fading were to occur, Hussey president Tim Hussey admitted an error in the research and eventually would come to a $1.5 million agreement with the TSA to replace the problem seats. Reportedly, the seat-fading occurred due to a manufacturing error by Hussey, as a UV inhibitor - a sunscreen-like component for the plastic - was forgotten in the mixture used to create the seats. All of the problem seats were replaced by new, non-pink seats in the spring of 2006.
  • In December 2015, the Buccaneers and the Tampa Sports Authority reached an agreement to complete over $100 million in improvements and renovations to the stadium. The negotiations took months, and were extended by Bucs' lawyers demanding additional concessions after an agreement was near in September 2015.[26] In the end, the upgrades were paid with at least $29 million of public money, with the remainder paid for by the Bucs in exchange for the right to play a home game at another site beginning in the 2018 season and other concessions. Renovations began in January 2016, and the first phase was complete in time for the 2016 football season.[27]
Panoramic view from The Pirate Ship during the 2009 off-season
Panoramic view from The Pirate Ship during the 2009 off-season

Notable football games

Super Bowl

Season Game Date Winning team Score Losing team Score Attendance
2000 Super Bowl XXXV January 28, 2001 Baltimore Ravens 34 New York Giants 7 71,921
2008 Super Bowl XLIII February 1, 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Arizona Cardinals 23 70,774
2020 Super Bowl LV February 1, 2021 TBD 0 TBD 0 TBD

NFL Playoffs

Season Game Date Visiting team Score Home team Score Attendance
1999 NFC Divisional January 15, 2000 Washington Redskins 13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 65,835
2002 NFC Divisional January 12, 2003 San Francisco 49ers 6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31 65,599
2005 NFC Wild Card January 7, 2006 Washington Redskins 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 65,514
2007 NFC Wild Card January 6, 2008 New York Giants 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 65,621

College Football Games

Season Game Date Winning team Score Losing team Score Attendance
2016 College Football Playoff National Championship January 9, 2017 Clemson Tigers 35 Alabama Crimson Tide 31 74,512


The stadium was also home to the former Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer and continues to periodically host other 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, which the United States won 3-1.[28]

International Soccer Matches

Date Winning Team Result Losing Team Tournament Spectators
June 8, 2012  United States 3-1  Antigua and Barbuda 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification 23,971

Other uses


Date Artist Opening act(s) Tour / Concert name Attendance Revenue Notes
July 31, 2001 NSYNC -- PopOdyssey -- -- Postponed from May 15. Moved from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
July 1, 2006 Kenny Chesney Dierks Bentley
Big & Rich
Carrie Underwood
Gretchen Wilson
The Road & The Radio Tour 45,002 / 45,002 $2,906,910
October 9, 2009 U2 Muse U2 360° Tour 72,688 / 72,688 $6,399,375
March 19, 2011 Kenny Chesney
Zac Brown Band
Billy Currington
Uncle Kracker
Goin' Coastal Tour 50,548 / 50,548 $4,399,810
June 2, 2012 Kenny Chesney
Tim McGraw
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Jake Owen
Brothers of the Sun Tour 48,443 / 50,604 $4,320,106
March 16, 2013 Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Eli Young Band
Kacey Musgraves
No Shoes Nation Tour 47,492 / 51,243 $4,271,090
October 3, 2014 One Direction 5 Seconds of Summer Where We Are Tour 52,158 / 52,158 $4,359,855
October 31, 2015 Taylor Swift Vance Joy
Shawn Mendes
The 1989 World Tour 56,987 / 56,987 $6,202,515 Alessia Cara and Idina Menzel were special guests. Swift wore an Olaf costume while Menzel wore her in-voice character Elsa, both from Frozen, in honor of Halloween.[29]
April 29, 2016 Beyoncé DJ Khaled The Formation World Tour 40,818 / 40,818 $4,803,295 Kent Jones joined DJ Khaled during the opening act.[30]
June 14, 2017 U2 OneRepublic The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 52,958 / 52,958 $6,125,415
April 21, 2018 Kenny Chesney Thomas Rhett
Old Dominion
Brandon Lay
Trip Around The Sun Tour TBA TBA
June 23, 2018 Luke Bryan Sam Hunt
Jon Pardi
Morgan Wallen
What Makes You Country Tour TBA TBA
August 14, 2018 Taylor Swift TBA Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour TBA TBA
November 7, 2018 Ed Sheeran TBA ÷ Tour TBA TBA


See also


  1. ^ "Patriots Sign Byars". The Ledger. October 16, 1996. Retrieved 2011. 
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800-". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved 2018. 
  3. ^ "Sports Facilities - FSC-Inc" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Suppes, BALLPARKS.com by Munsey and. "Raymond James Stadium". football.ballparks.com. 
  5. ^ "U2 Fans Line Up Before Dawn at Ray Jay Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010. 
  6. ^ "Raymond James". www.raymondjames.com. 
  7. ^ a b Testerman, Jeff (January 25, 2001). "Super Bowl 2001: We Paid for It; It Paid Off". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bucs' New Stadium Gets A Name, New name is 'The Raymond James Stadium'". CBS News. December 13, 1999. Retrieved 2009. 
  9. ^ "Raymond James Stadium Naming Rights Through 2028". buccaneers.com. August 28, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Raymond James Stadium | Stadium Facts". Raymondjames.com. Retrieved 2009. 
  11. ^ "College Football National Championship Seating Chart 2017". Retrieved . 
  12. ^ "Top Turf in the NFL? Cards Best, Steelers Worst". ESPN.com. January 29, 2009. Retrieved 2012. 
  13. ^ "Raymond James Stadium gets $140M Makeover". ESPN.com. August 28, 2016. 
  14. ^ Deggans, Eric (February 20, 2004). "Chris Thomas Touched Us All". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2012. 
  15. ^ "Bucs Stay in Tampa With a Big Price Tag". Milwaukee Journal. January 17, 1995. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009. 
  16. ^ Williams, Chareen (December 7, 1995). "Tampa Still Hopeful Bucs Will Stay Put". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2012. 
  17. ^ Harry, Chris (July 24, 2005). "Fantastic Voyage". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2012. 
  18. ^ 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 2012. 
  19. ^ Washington, Wayne (September 18, 1998). "Stadium Rose Despite Challenges". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2012. 
  20. ^ "In Pictures: The Most Valuable NFL Teams". Forbes.com. September 12, 2007. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved 2009. 
  21. ^ Testerman, Jeff (January 24, 2003). "Stadium Tax Helped Pay for Bucs' Success". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2012. 
  22. ^ Canning, Michael (September 29, 2001). "Former Mayor's Opinion of Stadium Hasn't Changed". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2012. 
  23. ^ Varian, Bill (April 18, 2003). "Tampabay: Tax Bill Swells as Bucs Stall". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009. 
  24. ^ Varian, Bill (March 6, 2003). "Hillsborough: Hillsborough Votes Yes on Plan to Own Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009. 
  25. ^ Varian, Bill (December 18, 2003). "Hillsborough: County Act Ends Tax on Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009. 
  26. ^ Contorno, Steve (1 October 2015). "How the Raymond James Stadium negotiations between the Buccaneers and the Tampa Sports Authority broke down". Tampa Tribune / tbo.com. Retrieved 2016. 
  27. ^ Pransky, Noah (3 December 2015). "Bucs strike deal with county on stadium renovations". USA Today / WTSP. Retrieved 2016. 
  28. ^ Godfrey, John (June 9, 2012). "A World Cup Qualifying Victory Lacks Quality for the U.S". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ Spata, Christopher (October 31, 2015). "No tricks, lots of treats as Taylor Swift delights fans at stadium". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 2015. 
  30. ^ Cridin, Jay (April 30, 2016). "Review: Beyoncé overwhelms the senses at Formation Tour spectacle at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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