What Can The Buccaneers Ownership Do To Improve Raymond James Stadium?

Raymond James Stadium - AP PHOTO

By – Devin Sanguinett – Bucs Report – Sports Talk Florida

So this is a bit of an odd article Buccaneers fans, but I still think it is interesting to look at Raymond James Stadium as a whole. The Panthers announced a couple days ago they would be doing a lot of renovations to Bank of America Stadium to “improve the fan experience”.

Of course, a good team would improve the experience more, but baby steps I guess. I live in North Carolina, and while I haven’t been inside Bank of America Stadium, it looked pretty dumpy from the outside. The area around it seemed nice though, so I’m curious what they’ll do there. But it did raise the question of if and when improvements would come for Ray Jay.

The Falcons have one of the best stadiums in the NFL and NOLA does as well. So their fans can watch their team lose in comfort at least. But RJ is around the same age as BoA, and the last upgrade was in 2016 where they upgraded the video boards. RJ does need some work so that fans can watch a good team in comfortable settings.

The first thing they have to address is the area around Ray Jay. It isn’t all that great. Now, I am writing this article with the idea of stadium renovation as opposed to demolishing it ala Tampa Stadium. It’s not like RJ is Fed Ex field. Our railings haven’t attempted to kill Drew Brees as far as I know. The area around RJ just doesn’t have a lot going on, and that is just a huge missed opportunity. There are a few fast food restaurants and like three bars. It’s even more egregious considering they host USF as well.

There needs to be 10x more bars. Whenever you see people talk about what to do when seeing the Buccaneers, they mention Ybor or Sparkman Wharf or Cigar City. While not exactly far away, Cigar City is the only place that is in realistic walking distance and it is still 1.5 miles. You look at places like Jerry World or SoFi, there is plenty to do in walking distance. Hell, even Amalie has more going on and is far more walkable. There are places like Hattricks and Yeoman’s for bars and it is also closer to downtown (good for food and things to do, bad for driving down, even for a regular season game against the Blues right after Thanksgiving. Yes I’m venting somewhat). The lack of things to do is even more shocking considering there have been three SBs in Tampa.

I am not an urban planner if for some reason you had that idea. However, you can look at what other stadiums have done to get businesses to show up. When the Rams snuck out of St Louis in the dead of night, they eventually landed in Sofi, the most expensive stadium ever. Part of the reason it is so expensive is that Kroenke also bought a lot of the land around it and developed it.

The Packers did that several years ago with Titletown. I don’t think that the Glazers will become urban development planners either, and I don’t think the Bucs need their own Pirates Cove town. But they need to get people to want to build in the area. Having a lot of fun attendance at the games would be the best start, and the Buccaneers look to be heading in the right direction regarding that. Another thing the Glazers can do is have deals with businesses nearby. You know, like how Tampa has a deal with Chick-fil-A with Lightning home wins. or how the Wingstop provides five free wings for Piston home wins. Oh wait… uhh, scratch that one maybe.

As far as inside the stadium goes, just an easy fix up from the get-go, the stadium needs some renovations done. It looks like it was built in the late 90s and could do with an upgrade in that regard. I love how they have kept up the pirate ship in ship-shape condition, but the rest of the stadium needs that. And like everyone and their mother has said, there needs to be shade. I don’t know if y’all are aware of this, but Florida is hot. Especially in August and especially especially at a 1pm start. A start that the Buccaneers were very familiar with last year as no one predicted them to be good.

Like I said, there is no need as of yet to tear down Raymond James. Even if the Glazers were to follow through with all my suggestions and other things they feel is necessary, it probably wouldn’t be. The main thing with the stadium itself is just to fix it up so that it doesn’t look so damn old. Both on the outside and inside, you can tell the thing was built a long time ago. RJ’s biggest problem is that there isn’t a lot to do outside the stadium on game day besides tailgate. The Glazers can do things to improve that, and I hope they do. RJ seems to be a favorite of the NFL and it would be nice to give a good experience to all fans. You know, to flex our superiority.

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