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 home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, University of South Florida Football, Outback Bowl, Monster Jam, Gasparilla Bowl and the XFL. 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. Raymond James Stadium hosted the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, which marked the first time this event had been hosted in the southeast United States. Raymond James Stadium will be hosting Wrestlemania in 2020 and Super Bowl LV in 2021.

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 Renovations

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.

In 2017, renovations were completed in the Hyundai West Club, which is now 25% larger giving it a capacity of 60,000 square feet. It is home to 178 4K video monitors, 29’ x 15’ HD video walls at each end and an LED ribbon board. The team store is 10,000 square feet and the Buccaneers new locker room was completed prior to the 2017 season.

The final phase was finished prior to the 2018 season and featured a complete renovation of the East Club with a premium 10,000-square foot sports bar named Bar 76 as a reference to the team’s inaugural 1976 season. Additionally, the new 64,000-square foot East Club includes two sleek bars and HD video walls at each end of the club lounge. With the renovation of the 134 luxury suites and development of the Hall of Fame Clubs, all suites now have retractable windows, multiple HD TVs and open floor plans.

Pirate Ship

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

June 14, 2017: U2, The Joshua Tree Tour

April 21, 2018: Kenny Chesney, Trip Around The Sun Tour

June 23, 2018: Luke Bryan, What Makes You Country Tour

August 14, 2018: Taylor Swift, Reputation Stadium Tour

November 7, 2018: Ed Sheeran, 2018 North American Stadium Tour

2020: XFL League begins

April 5, 2020: Wrestlemania

2021: Super Bowl LV

Stadium Firsts

First Event

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

February 1999

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)

First Concert

March 27, 1999
George Strait

First Equestrian Event

April 10, 1999
American Invitational

First Prom

May 1999
Robinson High School

First Buccaneer Playoff Game

January 15, 2000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Washington Redskins (Bucs 14 – Redskins 13)

First Wedding

January 2000
Goss Wedding

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)