Raymond James Stadium
Raymond James Stadium first broke ground in 1996. The 65,000-seat stadium (expandable to 75,000) hosted it’s first game on September 20, 1998, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Chicago Bears.
Raymond James Stadium is the home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, University of South Florida Football, Outback Bowl and Monster Jam. The stadium has hosted the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA), Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XLIII as well as many superstar concerts such as Kenny Chesney, U2, Beyonce, One Direction and Taylor Swift. This January, Raymond James Stadium will play host to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, which marks the first time this event has been hosted in the southeast United States.
Members of the NFL Players Association have consistently rated Raymond James Stadium’s field as the best in the league and league insiders refer to the stadium as the “crown jewel” of the NFL.
New Video Boards and Sound System
Following the completion of the initial phase of a $140-plus million multi-phase renovation in 2016 , Raymond James Stadium now boasts the most technologically advanced HD video system in use today. It is comprised of two massive 9,600 square-foot boards on the north and south ends of the stadium – and four large 2,300 square-foot HD tower walls. With more than 31,000 square feet of video display space, this system ranks as the third-largest video board system in the NFL. The new sound system has 400+ speakers throughout the stadium providing 750,000 watts of power and has over 30 miles of cable connecting the speakers. The new video boards and sound system takes a fan’s game experience to a whole new level.
The iconic pirate ship, permanently harbored in Buccaneer Cove, provides a unique and impressive backdrop and was made by the same company that produces props for Walt Disney World. The pirate ship comes to life after the Buccaneers score a field goal or touchdown. Its loud cannons fire seven times to signal a touchdown and three to announce a field goal.
The booming cannons aren’t the only unique sounds featured throughout the stadium. In fact, an animatronic parrot perched on the stern of the pirate ship frequently talks to those passing beneath during Buccaneers games. Controlled by radio remote, it can even pick fans out of the crowd.
January 16, 1995: Malcolm Glazer, a Palm Beach investor, buys the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $192 million, pending NFL approval. A new stadium proposal is issued by the Bucs and local government leaders in order to keep the franchise in Tampa.
March 13, 1995: NFL owners unanimously approve the sale of the Bucs to Glazer at the spring owners meeting in Phoenix.
September 1995: The bidding process of a new stadium is opened by the Tampa Sports Authority.
October 17, 1995: The Charter Seat Deposit Program kicks off with a 30-minute televised special “Homefield Advantage” and full-page newspaper advertisements and radio spots. Charter seats go on sale the next day.
October 26,1995: To beat the “first priority” deadline, fans drop off their charter seat deposits at a makeshift Tampa Stadium drive-thru.
December 13, 1995: Countering that it would cost too much, the Bucs reject local officials’ plans to pay for a new stadium through land sales and user fees.
March 1996: Negotiations held in private at the NFL owners meetings produce a tentative lease agreement for the new stadium.
April 1996: The TSA and the Tampa City Council approve a lease with the Bucs. Joe Chillura, Hillsborough County Commissioner, proposes a half-cent increase in the county sales tax that would be used to help fund a new stadium as well as various community projects, including new schools, public safety and infrastructure. The tax would come to be known as the Community Investment Tax.
August 19, 1996: Former Tampa Mayor Bill Poe files a suit to stop the Community Investment Tax referendum from appearing on the September ballot.
August 27, 1996: Hillsborough Circuit Judge James Whittemore throws out Poe’s suit seeking to block the Community Investment Tax from being placed on the ballot.
September 3, 1996: Community Investment Tax passes by a 53-47 percent margin.
September 1996: Poe files another suit seeking to block the Community Investment Tax from funding the new stadium, arguing against a clause in the TSA’s lease with the Bucs that gives the Glazers the first $2 million in parking and concession profits from non-Bucs events at the new stadium.
October 15, 1996: Bucs and government officials break ground for the new stadium and construction begins.
March 1997: Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge Sam Pendino agrees with Poe and rules that the clause in the TSA-Bucs lease is illegal.
May 22, 1997: The Florida State Supreme Court, in a 7-0 decision, rules all aspects of the Community Investment Tax are constitutional, defeating Poe’s final court challenge to the stadium.
June 26, 1998: Raymond James Financial, Inc., of St. Petersburg, pays approximately $35 million over 13 years for the naming rights to the new stadium.
July 23, 1998: All luxury suites at Raymond James Stadium are sold out.
July 29, 1998: The Bucs announce the north end zone in the stadium will belong to Buccaneer Cove, whose signature will be a 103-foot pirate ship.
August 1998: Tickets for the eight home Bucs games sell out in record time.
September 20, 1998: The Bucs defeat the Chicago Bears, 27-15, in the first event at Raymond James Stadium.
October 22-25, 1998: Billy Graham’s final Crusade is held at RJS.
January 28, 2001: The Baltimore Ravens defeat the New York Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV.
February 1, 2009: The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-24, in Super Bowl XLIII.
October 9, 2009: U2 360 Tour, Attendance: 72,688.
January 2010: After many successful years, Monster Jam expands to two shows per year.
March 19, 2011: Kenny Chesney Presents ‘Goin’ Coastal Tour’, with Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington and Uncle Kracker.
June 2, 2012: Kenny Chesney Presents ‘Brothers of the Sun’ Tour with Tim McGraw, Jake Owen and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
February 15, 2013: Kenny Chesney Presents ‘No Shoes Nation’ Tour with Eric Church, Eli Young Band and Kasey Musgraves.
April 26, 2014: Home of the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards Ceremony (IIFA). This is the first time, IIFA has been held in the United States.
October 31, 2015: Taylor Swift, The 1989 World Tour with Shawn Mendes and Vance Joy.
January 2016: RJS Stadium Renovations, approval for $100 million dollars in renovations.
April 29, 2016: Beyonce, The Formation World Tour.
January 9, 2017: Host to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
September 20, 1998
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Chicago Bears (Bucs 27 – Bears 15)
First USF Game
October 3, 1998
University of South Florida vs. Citadel (USF 45 – Citadel 6)
First Religious Event
October 22 – 25, 1999
Billy Graham Crusade
First Bowl Game
January 1, 1999
Outback Bowl (Penn State defeated Kentucky 26 – 14)
First Motorsports Event
January 23, 1999
Superbowl of Motorsports
First Career Fair
First High School Event
March 6, 1999
Soccer Game Day of Champions
First Mutiny Game
March 20, 1999
Mutiny vs. D.C. United (D.C. United 5 – Mutiny 2)
March 27, 1999
First Equestrian Event
April 10, 1999
Robinson High School
First Buccaneer Playoff Game
January 15, 2000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Washington Redskins (Bucs 14 – Redskins 13)
First Mutiny Playoff Game
September 14, 2000
Mutiny vs. L.A. Galaxy (Galaxy 1 – Mutiny 0)
First Super Bowl
January 28, 2001
Super Bowl XXXV (Baltimore Ravens defeated New York Giants 34 – 7)