Raymond James Stadium, also known as "Ray Jay", is a multi-purpose football stadium located in Tampa, Florida. It is home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL) as well as the NCAA's South Florida Bulls football team. The stadium seats 65,618. With the addition of temporary seating, it can be expanded to 75,000 for special events.
Raymond James Stadium hosted Super Bowls XXXV and XLIII, as well as the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. It is also set to host WrestleMania 36 on April 5, 2020 and Super Bowl LV on February 7, 2021.
|Raymond James Stadium|
Raymond James Stadium, 2007
Raymond James Stadium
Location within Florida
Raymond James Stadium
Raymond James Stadium (the United States)
|Address||4201 North Dale Mabry Highway|
|Operator||Tampa Sports Authority|
|Surface||Tifway 419 Bermuda|
|Broke ground||October 15, 1996|
|Opened||September 20, 1998|
|Construction cost||US$168.5 million|
($259 million in 2018 dollars)
|Architect||Wagner Murray Architects|
Populous (then HOK Sport)
|Structural engineer||Walter P Moore|
Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.
|General contractor||Manhattan Construction, Hunt/Metric Joint Venture|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) (1998–present)|
South Florida Bulls (NCAA) (1998–present)
Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) (1999–2001)
Outback Bowl (NCAA) (1999–present)
Gasparilla Bowl (NCAA) (2017–present)
Tampa Bay (XFL) (from 2020)
Raymond James Stadium was built to replace Tampa Stadium at the demand of the new Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer. It is located adjacent to the site of the old stadium on the former location of Al Lopez Field, a minor-league baseball stadium that had been demolished in 1989. Once completed, the final cost of the new stadium was $168.5 million, with the entire cost publicly financed.
It was known as Tampa Community Stadium during construction, but the naming rights were bought for US$32.5 million for a 13–year deal by St. Petersburg-based Raymond James Financial in June 1998. On April 27, 2006, an extension was signed to maintain naming rights through 2015. In May 2016 the Buccaneers announced that the naming rights were extended an additional 12 years ensuring that Raymond James Financial's name will continue to appear through 2028.
The stadium officially opened on September 20, 1998, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears, 27–15. The stadium hosted its first soccer game on March 20, 1999, when the Tampa Bay Mutiny lost to D.C. United, 5–2.
The stadium was selected to host the ACC Championship Game in 2008 and 2009.
The stadium is home field for the University of South Florida Bulls of the American Athletic Conference. The team's record crowd at Raymond James Stadium is 69,383, on September 29, 2012, when the Bulls – during their worst season ever – played a non-conference game against the popular Florida State University Seminoles from the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time.
The largest crowd ever recorded in Raymond James Stadium came on January 9, 2017 as the stadium hosted the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. 74,512 people were in attendance.
Through to the 2009 season, every Buccaneers game at Raymond James Stadium sold out. In 2010, no home game achieved a ticket sell out, so none could be broadcast on local television. The streak carried over until week four of the 2011 season, when it sold enough tickets for its Monday night game with the Indianapolis Colts on October 3 to avoid a local blackout.
One of the most recognizable features of the stadium is a 103-foot (31 m), 43-ton steel-and-concrete replica pirate ship in the north end zone. Each time the Bucs score points, enter the other team's red zone, or win a home game, the replica cannons on the ship are fired off. The cannons fire once for each point scored. In addition, when the Buccaneers enter their opponent's red zone, stadium hosts hoist team flags around the perimeter of the upper deck. During various times throughout the game, the song "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" is played on the stadium public address system (taken from Pirates of the Caribbean), which signals patrons on board the ship to throw beads, t–shirts, and other free prizes to the people below. The segment is also known as a "Mini Gasparilla" to most fans. An animated parrot sits on the stern of the pirate ship. Controlled by radio and remote control, the parrot picks fans out of the crowd and talks to those passing by.
During Super Bowl XXXV on CBS, the pregame, halftime, and post-game desk reporting took place from aboard the pirate ship. NBC's Super Bowl XLIII and ESPN's 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship coverage also emanated from the ship.
The two "Buc Vision" 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) Daktronics video displays were among the largest in the league when they were built. In 2016 they were replaced with 9,600-square foot, high-definition video boards in both end zones. 'Buccaneer Cove' features a weathered, two–story fishing village facade, housing stadium concessions and restrooms. All areas of the stadium are ADA compliant.
Temporary bleachers were erected in the end zones for Super Bowl XXXV, which set a then-record stadium attendance of 71,921. The stadium attendance record has since been surpassed by the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, which also made use of temporary seating.
Raymond James Stadium boasts the second-best turf in the NFL, according to a 2009 biannual players' survey.
In early 2016, the stadium was given an extensive facelift. The most notable improvement was the replacement of the 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) video displays with state of the art, high visibility 9,600-square-foot (890 m2) video displays in both the north and south end zones along with the addition of a new 2,300-square-foot (210 m2) video tower in each corner. All together, the video displays cover more than 28,000-square-foot (2,600 m2), making Raymond James Stadium the third-largest video displays in the NFL. The original sound system and the stadium's luxury boxes were also upgraded. A second round of improvements are planned for after the 2016 season is complete.
The stadium is referred to as "Ray Jay" or "The New Sombrero", a spinoff from "The Big Sombrero", the nickname of Tampa Stadium. Somewhat derisively, it has been occasionally referred to as "the CITS", a name coined by long-time local sportscaster Chris Thomas which stands for "Community Investment Tax Stadium", referring to the fact that the stadium was entirely financed by local taxpayers.
|Season||Game||Date||Winning team||Score||Losing team||Score||Attendance|
|2000||Super Bowl XXXV||January 28, 2001||Baltimore Ravens||34||New York Giants||7||71,921|
|2008||Super Bowl XLIII||February 1, 2009||Pittsburgh Steelers||27||Arizona Cardinals||23||70,774|
|2020||Super Bowl LV||February 1, 2021||TBD||0||TBD||0||TBD|
|Season||Game||Date||Visiting team||Score||Home team||Score||Attendance|
|1999||NFC Divisional||January 15, 2000||Washington Redskins||13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||65,835|
|2002||NFC Divisional||January 12, 2003||San Francisco 49ers||6||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31||65,599|
|2005||NFC Wild Card||January 7, 2006||Washington Redskins||17||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||65,514|
|2007||NFC Wild Card||January 6, 2008||New York Giants||24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||65,621|
|Season||Game||Date||Winning team||Score||Losing team||Score||Attendance|
|2016||College Football Playoff National Championship||January 9, 2017||Clemson Tigers||35||Alabama Crimson Tide||31||74,512|
The stadium was also home to the former Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer and continues to periodically host other soccer matches due to its accommodating field dimensions. For example, on June 8, 2012, it hosted the United States men's national soccer team's opening qualifying match against Antigua and Barbuda for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which the United States won 3-1.
In October 11, 2018, the Colombia men's national soccer team played against the United States men's national soccer team (4-2) to set the current attendance record of 38,361 for a soccer match at this stadium.
|Date||Winning Team||Result||Losing Team||Tournament||Spectators|
|June 8, 2012||United States||3-1||Antigua and Barbuda||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification||23,971|
|October 11, 2018||Colombia||4-2||United States||Friendly||38,631|
Raymond James Stadium has hosted several large scale concerts, with the largest attendance (72,000) coming at a show by U2 in 2009. Other performers at the venue have included Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, NSYNC, and One Direction.
WWE WrestleMania 36
Raymond James Stadium is scheduled to host WWE's flagship pay-per-view WrestleMania 36 on April 5, 2020.
The 2000 NFL season was the 81st regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XXXV when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants 34–7 at the Raymond James Stadium.
Week 1 of the season reverted to Labor Day weekend in 2000. It would be the last NFL season to date to start on Labor Day weekend. It would also be the last time until 2015 that CBS televised the late afternoon games in Week 1. This was because both Week 1 of the NFL season and CBS’ coverage of the U.S. Open tennis finals would take place on the same day beginning next season.2001 South Florida Bulls football team
The 2001 South Florida Bulls football team represented the University of South Florida (USF) in the 2001 NCAA Division I-A football season, and was the fifth team fielded by the school. The Bulls were led by head coach Jim Leavitt in his fifth year, played their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida and competed as a Division I-A Independent. The Bulls finished the season with a record of eight wins and three losses (8–3).2003 South Florida Bulls football team
The 2003 South Florida Bulls football team represented the University of South Florida (USF) in the 2003 college football season. Their head coach was Jim Leavitt, and the USF Bulls played their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. The 2004 college football season was only the 7th season overall for the Bulls, and their first season in Conference USA.2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
The 2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the franchise's 30th season in the National Football League the 8th playing their home games at Raymond James Stadium, and the 4th under head coach Jon Gruden. The season began with the team trying to improve on their 5–11 record in 2004 and The Bucs made a complete rebound from last season to make the playoffs since 2002 with an 11-5 record. Cadillac Williams won Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Bucs would lose in the Wild-Card playoff game at home to the 10-6 Redskins.2006 South Florida Bulls football team
The 2006 South Florida Bulls football team represented the University of South Florida (USF) in the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Their head coach was Jim Leavitt and they played all of their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The 2006 college football season was the tenth season overall for the Bulls and their second season in the Big East Conference.2007 Outback Bowl
The 2007 Outback Bowl Game was a college football bowl game sponsored by Outback Steakhouse. It was part of the 2006–2007 bowl game season that concluded the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Outback Bowl has been played annually since 1986 (until 1994 it was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl). The 2007 game was played on January 1, 2007, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The game pitted the #18 Tennessee Volunteers against the unranked Penn State Nittany Lions and was televised on ESPN.2008 South Florida Bulls football team
The 2008 South Florida Bulls football team represented the University of South Florida (USF) in the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Their head coach was Jim Leavitt, and the USF Bulls played all of their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. The 2008 college football season was the 12th season overall for the Bulls and their fourth season in the Big East Conference. The 2008 season was the first in which the team was ranked in the preseason rankings.2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
The 2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the franchise's 34th season in the National Football League the 12th playing their home games at Raymond James Stadium, and the first under head coach Raheem Morris. The Buccaneers looked to improve on their 9–7 record from their 2008 season and 3rd-place finish in the NFC South but failed to do so as they finished the season at 3–13, missing the playoffs for the second straight year.
The Buccaneers played seven of their home games at Raymond James Stadium. One of their home games was played at Wembley Stadium, as part of the International Series, in which they lost to the New England Patriots 35–7.
The Buccaneers unveiled a Ring of Honor to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1979 franchise. Lee Roy Selmon was the first inductee when the team wore throwback uniforms on November 8 in a game against Green Bay that they won 38–28.2010 South Florida Bulls football team
The 2010 South Florida Bulls football team represented the University of South Florida (USF) in the 2010 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Bulls played their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The 2010 season was the 14th season overall for the Bulls, and their sixth season in the Big East Conference. This was the first season with Skip Holtz as the head coach at USF, and the first without the program's only head coach, Jim Leavitt, who was fired January 8, 2010.On April 17, 2010, USF held its annual intersquad spring football game at Raymond James Stadium. 'Team South Florida' defeated 'Team Bulls' by a score of 49–31, in front of a record crowd of 6,357.On November 3, USF defeated Rutgers 28–27, making it the 100th victory in the history of USF football.
Concluding the season, USF was invited to the Meineke Car Care Bowl to face the Clemson Tigers. It marked the 6th consecutive season that the Bulls have gone to a post-season bowl. USF defeated Clemson, 31-26, securing a 3rd straight bowl victory for the Bulls. Quarterback BJ Daniels was named the MVP of the game.
The Bulls finished the season 8–5, 3–4 in Big East play. It is the 5th straight season that USF has finished with 8 or more wins.2011 South Florida Bulls football team
The 2011 South Florida Bulls football team represented the University of South Florida (USF) in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Bulls played their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The 2011 college football season was the 15th season overall for the Bulls, and their seventh season as a member of the Big East Conference. This was the second season with Skip Holtz as the head coach. They finished the season 5–7, 1–6 in Big East play to finish in a tie for seventh place. USF failed to qualify for a post-season bowl ending its streak of six consecutive bowl trips dating back to 2005.2016 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
The 2016 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the franchise's 41st season in the National Football League and the first under head coach Dirk Koetter. In week 13, the club won their seventh game, eclipsing their win total from 2015.
After winning on opening day, Tampa Bay sputtered through the rest of September. Starting running back Doug Martin was sidelined for eight weeks with a hamstring injury, necessitating back-up running backs taking his place in the lineup. After receiving adequate performances from Charles Sims and Antone Smith, both subsequently ended up on injured reserve, along with wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Cecil Shorts. A victory on Monday night against division rival Carolina saw Tampa Bay begin a streak in which they won seven out of their next nine games. Between weeks 10 and 14, the Buccaneers achieved their first five-game winning streak since their Super Bowl championship season.
Losses to the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints late in the season hampered the Buccaneers' playoff hopes; heading into week 17, the team was still mathematically alive for a wild card berth, but despite defeating the Carolina Panthers, the team missed the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Buccaneers finished tied with the Detroit Lions for the last NFC playoff spot, but lost the tiebreaker due to their respective records against common opponents. Nevertheless, the Buccaneers achieved their first winning season since the 2010 campaign.2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
The 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the franchise's 42nd season in the National Football League, the 20th playing their home games at Raymond James Stadium and the second under head coach Dirk Koetter.
On March 9, 2017, the Buccaneers signed former Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson, defensive tackle Chris Baker, former Dallas Cowboys safety J. J. Wilcox (traded to Pittsburgh Steelers), former New York Jets kicker Nick Folk, and veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
They were hampered with poor performance and an early kicking situation, as they failed to improve or match their 9–7 record from the previous season. After a loss to the Detroit Lions on December 10, 2017, they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with a 4–9 record. The Bucs finished the season 5-11. This was their tenth consecutive season without a playoff appearance, with their last being in the 2007 season. Also, the Bucs finished last in the NFC South for the seventh time in nine seasons.
The preseason was documented on HBO's Hard Knocks.2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
The 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season will be the franchise's 44th season in the National Football League, the 22nd playing their home games at Raymond James Stadium and their first under former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. They will try to improve upon their 5–11 record from the previous two seasons and make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.Buccaneers–Panthers rivalry
The Buccaneers–Panthers rivalry is between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.The two teams met for the first time in 1995 when the Panthers were an expansion team. In 2002, due to league-wide reorganization, the teams were moved into the newly formed NFC South division, and have played each other twice a year since then--once each at the Bucs' Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and the Panthers' Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The matchup immediately became popular, and by many accounts intensified into a heated rivalry starting in 2003.The two teams have yet to meet during the playoffs, and cannot play each other during the preseason under current NFL rules.
The annual games have been described by observers as "physical" and numerous players have suffered season-ending injuries. Among the most serious was Chris Simms, who suffered a ruptured spleen in 2006 and Kavika Pittman who suffered a career-ending knee injury. Return specialist Clifton Smith suffered concussions in both games in 2009, the first from a high hit by Dante Wesley, who was subsequently ejected and suspended for one game. In addition to hard-hitting play, considerable off-the-field squabbles and verbal skirmishes have provided bulletin board material, including a brouhaha between Brentson Buckner and Warren Sapp as well as the arrest of two Panthers cheerleaders in a Tampa-area bar.Buccaneers–Saints rivalry
The Buccaneers–Saints rivalry is between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. The two teams met for the first time in 1977. The expansion Buccaneers had been winless over their first two seasons to that point, and entered the game with a collective record of 0–26. Tampa Bay upset the Saints, earning their first win in franchise history.
During the period from 1976–2001, the two teams were not in the same division, but played one another many times during the regular season as well as during the preseason. In 2002, the two teams were placed in the NFC South division and became division rivals, with the Bucs becoming dominant in the early 2000s and the Saints in the late 2000s/much of the 2010s. The Buccaneers and Saints are scheduled to play one another twice each season, once each at Tampa and New Orleans. As of 2018, the two teams have yet to meet during the playoffs.Outback Bowl
The Outback Bowl is an annual college football bowl game played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, usually on New Years Day. The event was originally called the Hall of Fame Bowl from 1986 to 1994 until being renamed in 1995 for its new title sponsor, Outback Steakhouse. It is organized by the Tampa Bay Bowl Association under Jim McVay, who has been the president and CEO since 1988.Super Bowl LV
Super Bowl LV, the 55th Super Bowl and the 51st modern-era National Football League (NFL) championship game, will decide the league champion for the 2020 NFL season. The game is scheduled to be played on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida (with the exact date pending potential changes to the NFL calendar). This will be the fifth Super Bowl hosted by the Tampa area, with the last one being Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, and the third one held at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by CBS. It will be the third time that the Super Bowl is in the same state in back to back years with Super Bowl LIV taking place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.Tampa Bay Mutiny
The Tampa Bay Mutiny was a professional soccer team based in Tampa, Florida. They were a charter member of Major League Soccer (MLS) and played from 1996 to 2001. They played their home games at Tampa Stadium and then at Raymond James Stadium.
The Mutiny were established in 1994 and were owned and operated by MLS throughout their existence. They were successful in their first years of play, winning the first MLS Supporters' Shield behind MLS MVP Carlos Valderrama and high-scoring forward Roy Lassiter, whose 27 goals in 1996 remained the MLS single-season record until 2018. However, the team drew low revenues and attendance and could not find a local ownership group to take over operations from the league. In 2002, MLS folded the Mutiny as well as its other Florida-based team, the Miami Fusion.Tampa Stadium
Tampa Stadium (nicknamed The Big Sombrero and briefly known as Houlihan's Stadium) was a large open-air stadium (maximum capacity about 74,000) located in Tampa, Florida. It opened in 1967, was significantly expanded in 1974–75, and was demolished in 1999. The facility is most closely associated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League, who played there from their establishment in 1976 until 1997. It also hosted two Super Bowls, in 1984 and 1991, as well as the 1984 USFL Championship Game.
Besides the Bucs, Tampa Stadium was home to the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the original North American Soccer League, the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League, the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer, and the college football programs of the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida. It also hosted many large concerts, and for a time, it held the record for the largest audience to ever see a single artist when a crowd of almost 57,000 witnessed a Led Zeppelin show in the facility in 1973.
To meet the revenue demands of the Buccaneers' new owners, Raymond James Stadium was built at public expense in Tampa Stadium's parking lot in 1998. The older stadium was demolished in early 1999.
|Events and tenants|
Tampa Stadium/Houlihan's Stadium
| Home of the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1998 – present
University of Phoenix Stadium
| Home of the
College Football Playoff National Championship
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
| Host of the
ACC Championship Game
Bank of America Stadium
Tampa Stadium/Houlihan's Stadium
| Home of the
Tampa Bay Mutiny
1999 – 2001
University of Phoenix Stadium
Hard Rock Stadium
| Host of the Super Bowl
Sun Life Stadium
Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park
| Host of WrestleMania