RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #20
- Location: Tampa, FL
- Opened: 1998
- Capacity: 65,890
- Weather: OK (ranked 10th out of 20 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 2
- Last visited: 2021
When the Bucs moved from the Big Sombrero to this place, everybody was agog. Tampa Bay fans had a beautiful facility with great sightlines, state-of-the-art amenities, and even a 43-ton pirate ship with active cannons in the end zone. Raymond James was state of the art.
But with all the building and the one-upmanship in stadium design, it now falls to the middle of the pack.
It’s still a perfectly nice place to watch a game provided the weather isn’t too hot, or if you have one of the very few seats with shade. Buccaneer Cove continues to be a hoot with its pirate-themed concessions. The ship itself is boss. Seats are wide and comfortable and provide excellent sightlines. You can drink Reef Donkey or Cigar City Jai Alai all game. And after a Bucs touchdown, once you’re done being scared shitless by the firing cannons, you’ll get to sing “Yo ho. Yo ho. A Pirate’s Life For Me” with 60,000 others.
Its location near the airport means that its neighborhood is filled with chain restaurants and strip clubs. I’ll let you decide if that’s good or not. The tailgating in the many parking lots surrounding the stadium is good.
Despite pockets of success, Tampa Bay fans have witnessed a lot of mediocre football. They tend to stay away when the team was out of contention (or when it was 95 degrees outside). As such, this stadium only gets a middling ranking. But when the team is good, and it’s less than 85-degrees outside, it can be a real hoot.
It’s one of the older stadiums to have not undergone a substantial renovation, yet it was considered good enough to host the 2021 Super Bowl. It’s still in great shape despite its age (something I believe we once used to describe a QB that played a few years here in Tampa). I just wish they built some more shade.