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Q&A

By BRUCE LOWITT

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 18, 1998


Q: I know the Bucs games officially are sold out. But are single-game tickets still available?
A: No.

Q: I heard you still can buy a season ticket. Is that true?
A: Yes, a limited number of season tickets is available. For information call the Bucs ticket office at (813) 879-2827 or (800) 282-0683, or Ticketmaster in Hillsborough County (813) 287-8844 or Pinellas County (727) 898-2100.

Q: Are tickets for disabled fans still available?
A: No.

Q: What about access to areas for the disabled?
A: There are no ramps specifically for them because all areas of the stadium are disabled-accessible by elevator, escalator and ramps, with seats for the disabled in every price range.

Q: What time do the gates open?
A: For Sunday's inaugural game, which starts at 4 p.m., all gates will open at 1. For future games, the gates to suites and club seats will open three hours before kickoff; gates for other seats will open two hours before kickoff.

Q: What do I do if I get to the stadium and don't like my assigned seats? Will anybody be there to hear my complaint?
A: Bucs staff members will be at designated areas to deal with complaints, lost or duplicate tickets, etc. In addition, the Bucs ticket office, (813) 870-2827, will deal with complaints.

Q: I heard the stadium will have a family section. What's the deal there? And is it sold out as well?
A: Sections 319 and 344 are designated as family sections, which ostensibly means no alcohol is permitted and, one hopes, no cursing or inappropriate behavior. The sections are sold out.

Q: Can the public take tours of the stadium during the week?
A: From noon-4 p.m. Sept. 27, the Tampa Sports Authority will hold an open house at the stadium. All the "tenants" -- the Bucs, University of South Florida, Tampa Bay Mutiny -- will have tables and displays, and videos will be played on the scoreboard. The TSA also plans to organize tours of the club seats, suites, locker rooms, press box and so on, with lunch available in the club lounge (which also is available for rent for private parties). Fees and frequency of future tours have not been determined.

Q: Generally, how does Raymond James Stadium compare with other new NFL stadia?
A: Here are two:

l Tampa Bay Baltimore Cleveland Tennessee
Opening date Sunday Sept. 6 1999 1999
Cost $168.5-million $220-million $280-million $165-million
Capacity 66,321 69,354 72,000 67,000
Tickets (per game) $22-$54 $20-$60 $17-65 $36-$48
Club seats 12,332 7,900 8,300 11,500
Club seats
(cost per season)
$950-$2,450 $1,075-$2,975 $1,000-2,350 $3,500-$5,000
Suites 164 108 116 244
Suites (cost per season) $65,000-$85,000 $55,000-$200,000 $60,000-$125,000 $50,000-$150,000
Personal seat license* none $250-$3,000 $250-$1,500 $250-$5,00

* The license is a nonrefundable one-time fee for the right to purchase a ticket.

Q: Can you compare Houlihan's Stadium to Raymond James Stadium?

Houlihan's Raymond James
Total seats 74,301 66,321 (expandable to temporary 75,000)
General seats 73,180 51,432
Club seats none 12,332
Suite seats 1,121 2,557
Disabled seating 70 disabled
70 companion
300 disabled
(expandable to 712)
300 companion
(expandable to 712)
Seat size 18-inch aluminum benches 19-inch armchair theater seats
21-inch padded armchair theater seats
Luxury suites 59
118-141 feet from field
164 sealed windows retractable windows
65-78 feet from field
Cup holders none on seats in all locations
Escalators none 20
Elevators 5 12 (expandable to 14)
Width of main concourses: 27-100 feet 56-78 feet
Width upper concourses 22 feet 24-40 feet
Width club concourses none 28-92 feet
Scoreboard
video boards
1 (22 by 32 feet) 2 (25 by 92 feet)
Overall display 1 (40 by 156 feet) 2 (75 by 160 feet)
Guest televisions 200 1,158
Field size (wall to wall) 215 by 415 feet 272 by 400 feet
Main entry gates 4 6
(4 general, 2 clubs/suites)
Entry points 58 68
First-aid rooms 2 5
Information booths 8 12
Permanent concession stands 30 48
Temp. concession stands 74 120
Traffic/security cameras 0 12
Men's restrooms 12 24
Women's restrooms 16 28
Companion restrooms 1 8
Total restrooms 29 60

Q: Will the scoreboards and all the other "bells and whistles" be fully operational on opening day?
A: Yes.

Q: What kind of food can I buy?
A: Here are the names of the concessions and what they offer (the Bucs declined to provide prices):

Main and upper concourses

    Pass the Pizza: personal pizza
    Side Line Salsa: Mexican
    Goal Line Stand: standard fare
    Charley's Steakery: steak/chicken/sub

Main concourse only

    The Galley: hot dogs/pretzel Club level
    The Crow's Nest: sausages/chicken
    Treasure Cafe: salads/subs/hot dogs
    Pasta Port Grille: personal pizzas/chicken
    The Club Grill: Po' Boy sandwiches/fries

* * *

Q: What size cups do the cup holders hold?
A: Souvenir and large-size.

Q: Why are the south end zone seats retractable?
A: To allow for concert staging without damaging the field.

Q: What are the rules about tailgating?
A: You can't take up two spaces, only the one you buy. You can cook but only within your space, not in an open area, such as lanes in which cars will be moving. Tossing or kicking footballs (or anything else) in the stadium parking lots is prohibited because of the potential for injury (as well as annoying other fans). Cleaning up after yourself is expected.

Q: Is it okay to have alcohol in the parking lots?
A: On the Tampa Sports Authority property, yes. But the rules may be different on lots at Hillsborough Community College, Al Lopez Park, Tampa Bay Center and so on.

Q: How can I pay for concessions?
A: Cash and traveler's checks (U.S. currency only), signed in the presence of the cashier. Credit cards will not be accepted at concession stands.

Q: Can I bring food into the stadium?
A: No.

Q: Drinks?
A: No.

Q: An umbrella?
A: No.

Q: Banners?
A: Yes, but they have to be checked by the Florida Highway Patrol beforehand, they can't advertise anything, they can't be made of wood or metal, they have to be in good taste, and they can't be hung next to or over equipment or existing signs. The TSA can reject banners because of size, content or space availability.

Q: Can I smoke in the stadium?
A: Yes, but only in designated areas: just inside each gate on the ground level; the terrace of each club lounge, off the elevator lobby; suites (if permitted by the suite holder), and the tops of the ramps in each quad of the upper concourse. Violators will be given a warning and may be ejected if violations continue.

Q: How are the sections numbered?
A: There are 100 (lower level), 200 (club level) and 300 (upper level) sections, each with its own number. Houlihan's had duplicate-lettered sections on the east and west sides of the stadium.

Q: How many parking spaces are there?
A: 8,500. Before construction of Raymond James Stadium, there were 11,000. When Houlihan's is demolished and the Bucs' training facilities and practice fields are built, there will be about 9,500. When you add the surrounding lots, about 25,000 spaces are within a half-mile of the stadium.

Q: What time do the parking lots open?
A: General parking lots, wheelchair parking (lots A and C) and disabled parking (lots 3 and 6) will open four hours before kickoff, but for the inaugural game they will open about five hours before kickoff. Bus and camper parking (lot 8) will open five hours before kickoff for all games.

Q: Will there be any shuttle vehicles running from remote parking areas to the stadium?
A: No.

Q: What number do I call if I have other parking questions?
A: (813) 879-2827.

Q: What's going to happen to the old stadium?
A: It will be demolished. Some parts of Houlihan's will be recycled, and some may be sold at auction or otherwise disposed of. It depends on which way is the most economical or can raise the most money. The demolition is expected to be completed by spring, at which time construction of the Bucs' training facilities and practice fields will begin.

Q: I heard the Bucs are going to somehow connect their training facilities and practice fields to the new stadium. How's that going to work?
A: It hasn't been determined. It could be as simple as a sidewalk or canopied walkway.

Q: Will the new stadium's shape (rectangular rather than oval) affect crowd noise?
A: It remains to be seen, but what might have a greater impact is the absence of enclosed end zones. That might allow the sound to escape, unlike, say, Florida Field in Gainesville, where the sound reverberates.

Q: What can you tell me about Buccaneer Cove?
A: It's a $3-million extravaganza covering 20,000 square feet, the entire north end zone concourse. It will have a facade of a weathered two-story fishing village with concessions and a centerpiece of a 103-foot replica of a pirate ship that will erupt with cannon fire (smoke, confetti and miniature footballs) when the Bucs score.

Q: Can I get onto the pirate ship?
A: On opening day, no. Beyond that, there are no definite plans.

Q: Will I be able to visit my friends in the lower level if my seats are in the upper level?
A: Not at the lower-level seats. But lower-level concourses will be accessible. If you want to meet, pick a spot -- say, a numbered entryway or a specific concession stand. Fans wanting to meet friends in the club or suite areas will be denied access.

Q: What will people in the club seats get that the people in the rest of the stadium won't?
A: Servers will take orders and deliver food and drinks to the seats. The seats will be wider and have cushions, and they are accessible from an air-conditioned club level containing restaurants, sports bars, lounge seating and video walls.

Q: What's in the luxury suites?
A: Windows that can be opened completely, a private bar, five televisions that can carry other NFL games, and access from private elevators.

Q: I've heard that the scoreboards are pretty cool. What's different about them?
A: BucVision is two large videoboards, one in each end zone. They can show huge single-picture replays or the same play in up to six images (three screens on each videoboard). The high-definition screens also will provide messages, statistics and updated information on other NFL games. Four message boards will be on the upper level, facing the sidelines, to give NFL scores and game statistics.

Q: How can I send someone a message on the scoreboard (birthday, anniversary, etc.)?
A: Call Layla Reaves of Bucs special events (813) 870-2700, extension 227. The message has to be mailed or called in no later than the Wednesday before the game and costs $100 payable in check (make it out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) or cash. Credit cards are not accepted.

Q: What do I do if people in my area get rowdy or nasty?
A: First of all, it is best not to confront them. Florida Highway Patrol officers, Hillsborough County sheriff's officers and Tampa police officers will be at games, as well as private security personnel. That's more than at Houlihan's Stadium. Report disturbances to them. The miscreants will be warned the first time. If they continue to misbehave, they will be ejected and/or arrested. If you can't find security, information/guest services personnel will be on every level of the stadium.

Q: What happens if I lose something?
A: There will be lost-and-found stations at the information/guest services booths. During the week call the Tampa Sports Authority stadium office, (813) 673-4300. The office is on the ground level between gates C and D.

Q: Are there safety precautions to help me find my lost child?
A: There's the Tag-A-Kid program, a free service in which your child can be given a wristband displaying his or her name and seat location. Sign up at any information/guest services booth.

Q: Other than the Bucs, University of South Florida football games and Mutiny matches, what other kinds of events are we likely to see in Raymond James Stadium?
A: Everything you saw at Houlihan's -- concerts ( none have been booked), the Billy Graham crusade Oct. 22-25, motocross, Super Bowl of Motorsports, horse jumping, truck-and-tractor pulls, whatever. And Super Bowl XXXV in January 2001.

-BRUCE LOWITT

Sources: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Sports Authority, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns Trust, Tennessee Oilers.

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