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.
Prior to Tom Brady, Tampa Bay fans saw a lot of mediocre football and tended to stay away when the team was out of contention (or when it was 95 degrees outside). But so long as TB12 can still sling a football, you can expect full houses.
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 (and where have I heard that before in Tampa?)