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Other big events are sure to come

The Bucs and Bulls dominate the stadium early, but expect major concerts and other sporting events in the future.

By LOGAN NEILL

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 18, 1998


Raymond James Stadium may have been built with the Bucs almost exclusively in mind, but there is little doubt that down the road it will ease into the role of its predecessor as the bay area's house of big events.

Bucs games, University of South Florida football games and college football's Outback Bowl top the facility's schedule over the next few months, and it will host Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, 2001. But also look for the stadium to host major concerts and other sporting events.

"We expect that pretty much the same events that we held at Houlihan's Stadium will be returning," Tampa Sports Authority spokeswoman Barbara Casey said.

That includes stadium-size events such as monster trucks, motocross and equestrian competitions as well as concerts.

No pop acts have been booked, but Casey expects promoters to consider the 66,321-seat stadium viable for performers such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and George Strait, all of whom brought recent tours to the area.

The Super Bowl of Motorsports, the monster truck race that annually pulls in about 60,000 people, is booked to return Jan. 23. The AMA Supercross Series championship motorcycle event is scheduled for Feb. 13.

But without a doubt, the biggest draws on the calendar this year are the eight Bucs home games. Bucs fans get the first look at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday when Tampa Bay meets the Chicago Bears.

If you weren't fortunate enough to snare Bucs tickets, you can get a look at the facility at TSA's free open house from noon-4 p.m. Sept. 27.

"It's going to be an insider's look at what we have here," Casey said.

Representatives of teams that use the stadium, including the Mutiny, will be on hand. A tour will include the concourse, club seating area and Bucs locker room. Giveaways and presentations are planned throughout the day.

The games

SEPT. 20, Chicago Bears, 4 p.m.

OCT. 4, New York Giants, 4:15 p.m.

OCT. 18, Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.

NOV. 1, Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.

NOV. 8, Tennessee Oilers, 8 p.m.

NOV. 22, Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.

DEC. 7, Green Bay Packers, 8 p.m.

DEC. 13, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.

University of South Florida games at Raymond James Stadium:

OCT. 3, The Citadel, 7 p.m. OCT. 10, Elon, 7 p.m.

OCT. 17, W. Kentucky, 7 p.m NOV. 7, Cumberland, 7 p.m.

NOV. 21, Morehead State, 7 p.m

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