Time line: Tropicana Field
By ANGIE DROBNIC HOLAN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 10, 2007
Nov. 1, 1982: St. Petersburg City Council approves offering the 66-acre Gas Plant as the stadium site for 40 to 50 years at $1 per year.
Dec. 31, 1984: Pinellas Sports Authority and the City Council approve sale of an $85-million revenue bond to provide permanent financing for construction.
Nov. 22, 1986: More than 9,000 supporters help break ground with miniature shovels that say "I Dig the Stadium."
March 3, 1990: The Florida Suncoast Dome opens for business with festivities drawing 25,339. Cost: $138-million, up from an original budget of $85-million.
July 20, 1993: The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team agrees to play in the dome for two years.
Aug. 5, 1993: The Florida Suncoast Dome becomes the Thunderdome.
March 9, 1995: A baseball franchise is awarded to the Tampa Bay area at a major-league owners meeting.
April 27, 1995: The team and city agree on a 30-year lease.
Oct. 3, 1996: The Thunderdome becomes Tropicana Field in a 30-year naming-rights deal worth $30-million to $50-million.
Oct. 7, 1996: Ground is broken on a 15-month, $63-million stadium renovation.
March 31, 1998: Wilson Alvarez starts the Rays' first-ever official game; they lose 11-6 to Detroit before 45,369 fans.
April 1, 1998: The Rays get their first win, 11-8 over the Tigers before 30,109.
Oct. 15, 2002: Pinellas County agrees to take ownership of Tropicana Field from the city after a 2001 Florida Supreme Court decision finds that city-owned sports arenas used by for-profit teams must pay property tax.
Oct. 6, 2005: Stuart Sternberg replaces Vince Naimoli as managing owner of the Rays and announces a $10-million renovation of the Trop, including improvements to the seating, sound system and bathrooms.
March 28, 2006: The Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame announces it will move from its location in Citrus County to Tropicana Field in order to bring in more visitors.
July 12, 2006: Live cow-nose rays come to live in a large tank installed in the stadium's outfield.
Nov. 8, 2007: The Tampa Bay Rays unveil new team colors (blue instead of green), a new uniform design, and a new name (no more "Devil").
Source: Times archives