RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #21
- Location: Tampa, FL
- Opened: 1998
- Capacity: 65,890
- Football Weather Misery Index: 46.4 (13th best of 23 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 1
- Last visited: 2017
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.
Tampa Bay fans have seen a lot of mediocre football over the years and tended to stay away when the team is out of contention (or if it’s 95 degrees outside). Which is why this place is so far down the list. Coming off a championship season, I suspect the place to be packed for a couple of years and the vibe to improve immensely.
It’s one of the older stadiums to have not undergone a substantial renovation, but it still hosted the 2021 Super Bowl. It’s still in great shape despite its age (and where have I heard that before in Tampa?)