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27 September . 2017

We’re in a Major League Market

Published September 2017

Living in Bexley gives you home field advantage to enjoy the area’s professional sports teams. With five professional sports teams, Tampa is definitely on the sporting map, not to mention that the region hosts baseball Spring Training for a number of Major League Baseball teams. The city will soon play host to two of the sports world’s biggest games, and for regular season action, it’s just a short drive to watch our professional teams play in person.

Below is a roundup of teams and where to watch them play.

Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning may just be the darling of the area’s sports teams. The Bolts, as they’re known, brought the Stanley Cup home to Tampa in 2004 and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015 before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in a hard-fought series.

During hockey season, check out the pre-game parties in the courtyard of Amalie Arena, which provide a high-energy, family-friendly environment. The team also often hosts Away Game viewing parties. In 2018, the Lightning and Amalie Arena will host the NHL All-Star Game.

The Lightning, and owner Jeff Vinik are known for their charitable acts. At each home game, a Lightning Community Hero is honored with a $50,000 donation to the non-profit charity of their choice. Since 2011, the program has assisted more than 400 local charities with donations totaling more than $11 Million. The team has also helped spur the development of youth hockey leagues throughout the region. For Lightning ticket information, click here.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It was 2003 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought home the Lombardi Trophy, securing a place as Super Bowl Champions. The team has had some growing pains since then, but some talented new players, like quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, are making fans hopeful for a better season. The HBO sports documentary series “Hard Knocks” has selected to focus on the Bucs training camp this summer.

The team started in the NFL back in 1976 when the league expanded. A name-that-team contest settled on the Buccaneers moniker, paying tribute to the area’s pirate lore. Since then, some legendary players such as Steve Spurrier, Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks and the late Lee Roy Selmon have been on the Bucs’ roster.

The Bucs play at Raymond James Stadium, or RayJay as the locals call it. The stadium will host the Super Bowl in 2021. Be sure to check out the replica pirate ship in the end zone. For more information on the team and to purchase tickets, click here.

Tampa Bay Rays
For baseball fans, it’s time to batter up and head to St. Petersburg to catch the Boys of Summer play. The Tampa Bay Rays make their home at the domed Tropicana Field, near downtown St. Pete. Like the area’s other sports teams, the Rays have also had a shot at bringing home the championship trophy. In 2008, the team had its first winning season, their first American League East championship and their first run at the pennant, but lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. Since then, the team has had several years with post-season action, most recently in 2013.

The Rays’ two biggest rivals are the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees and tickets for those games go quickly.

For the past several years, there has been much discussion about whether the Rays will continue to play in St. Pete. Tropicana Field isn’t the modern stadium the team wants. Tampa and Hillsborough County have been actively courting the team, as well as considering locations for a new stadium.

Check out the Ray’s schedule and tickets here

Tampa Bay Rowdies
Soccer fans can get their kicks by heading over to Al Lang Stadium and cheering for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The team was the area’s first professional sports team, established in 1975. In their inaugural year, the Rowdies won the Soccer Bowl, and fielded a number of competitive teams that played on both sides of the Bay until 1993, when the franchise went on a nearly two- decade hiatus.

In 2010 the Rowdies were back in their new hometown of St. Petersburg. Two years later the team brought home the Soccer Bowl trophy for a second time, and 2013 philanthropist and St. Pete businessman Bill Edwards announced he was taking over the Rowdies and moving them to their current home at Al Lang Stadium. The team kicked off the 2017 season as members of the United Soccer League, but there is a current push to be selected as a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. Voters recently approved a referendum to give St. Petersburg City Council authority to negotiate a long-term use agreement for Al Lang Stadium, and a $80 million privately funded renovation plan for the stadium, contingent on being awarded the MLS franchise.

Tampa Bay Storm
The Tampa Bay Storm is the region’s pro arena football team, one of the Arena Football League’s charter franchises. Originally, the team was located in Pittsburg, but relocated to Tampa and changed their name to the Storm in 1991. The team has won five Arena Bowl championships, but their last winning season was in 2010.

The Storm play their home games at Amalie Arena and are owned by Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik.