No Lull for Football Fans in Tampa Bay

No Lull for Football Fans in Tampa Bay

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read January 2020 If the last few weeks in the Tampa Bay region have felt like a nonstop marathon of events and gatherings, that’s because it has been. While the region has been celebrating the multiple holidays and enjoying the dozens of holiday happenings around the area, there have also been some significant sporting milestones, specifically in the world of football. As the season closes for the NFL in Tampa Bay, another one begins for the new XFL and the beginning of 2020 also marked another successful bowl game in the Bay. 

 

The end of the NFL 2019 regular season was lamented by a 28 to 22 Buccaneers loss to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. While it was not the season Bucs fans were hoping for, it did leave some room for hope in the next season as well as some shining moments that will be enshrined in Buccaneers history. This season saw the complete dominance of what could possibly be the best wide receiver duo in the NFL, Buccaneers Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin. Between them they had almost 2,500 receiving yards, 17 touchdowns and they were both chosen to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl. 

Then there is the curious case of the Buccaneers starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who was just the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 passing yards in a season, becoming the passing yards leader for the 2019 season. This in itself should be a huge advantage on the resume of the quarterback, who was playing for a new contract this season, but that same resume for this year is marred with a new NFL record – Winston is the first quarterback to throw for 30 passing touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a single season. So while head coach Bruce Arians has a lot of positives on the offensive side heading into his first offseason with the Bucs, there are some significant decisions to be made this offseason in regards to the future face of the franchise. 

Jan. 1 not only marked the beginning of the new decade, it was also the day to catch the annual Outback Bowl held at Raymond James Stadium. The bowl game, which has been played in Tampa Bay since 1986, is a staple in the community and receives support from some of the largest local institutions like Pilot Bank and Visit Tampa Bay. The game itself saw the #18 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the #12 ranked Auburn Tigers in what was an exciting game through all four quarters. While both teams jumped out to strong starts in the first quarter, Minnesota capitalized on the momentum by scoring 14 in the 2nd quarter and ultimately Auburn was never able to make a push to get ahead. With Auburn trailing for the rest of the game, the final score resulted in a 31 to 24 victory for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. 

With the end of the Bucs season and the passing of another Outback Bowl, the Tampa Bay region would normally go into a football lull, but thanks to the introduction of a new XFL team, the Tampa Bay Vipers, there will be no shortage of football to enjoy. Invest: recently spoke with the president of the Tampa Bay Vipers, Josh Bullock, about the process of bringing this team to the region and why Tampa Bay is perfectly suited for another football franchise. “The process of bringing this team to Tampa Bay has been exciting, intense and rewarding. Thankfully, we have great leadership, both in the region and throughout the league, starting with the chairman of the XFL, who gave us the time and resources to build this league the right way,” Bullock stated. “We anticipate playing a fast, fun style of professional football at Raymond James Stadium for Tampa Bay fans. I believe Tampa Bay is perfectly suited for this XFL team because of the great sports fans we have throughout our community. There are many entertainment options available and our community will continue to gravitate to products that are enjoyable, engaging and offered at an affordable price. That is exactly what the XFL is going to provide.”

Football fans won’t have to wait long to start enjoying everything the XFL promises to provide as the first game is slated for Sunday, Feb. 9, against the New York Guardians. The team’s home opener at Raymond James Stadium is scheduled for Saturday, Feb 22, versus the Houston Roughnecks. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

https://www.xfl.com/en-US/teams/tampa-bay

 

The Best Is Yet to Come in the Bay

The Best Is Yet to Come in the Bay

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read January 2020 2019 is officially in the books and was another monumental year for the Tampa Bay region. All sectors of the local economy were firing on all cylinders this past year, from the always popular tourism market to growing sectors like technology and healthcare. The continuing economic boom was complimented by a slew of memorable events that truly showcased the growth of the Tampa Bay region. As we now turn our focus toward 2020, it can be hard to imagine topping the success of the past year’s events but that is exactly what looks to be in store for residents and visitors in Tampa Bay. This comes as no surprise to leaders in the community like Santiago Corrada, the president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, who told Invest: that, “This region is starting to become everybody’s must-visit destination, which is awesome.”

 

Starting the year off is the historic 2020 Gasparilla Pirate Festival. This annual event has been held in the Tampa Bay region for over 100 years, and has grown into an eight-week extravaganza that is bustling with activities for families and adults alike. It should be noted that the event kicks off on Jan. 25 with the nation’s third-largest parade, and also features memorable events throughout the eight-week run like the Gasparilla Distance Classic on Feb. 22 and 23 in which people can participate in various types of running events. There is also the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts and Gasparilla Music Festival, which is being headlined by national acts like Portugal. The Man. The event concludes with the Gasparilla International Film Festival. 

While all of the festivities that make up Gasparilla Pirate Festival lay the foundation for a great year of events, 2020 is also shaping up to be a historic year for the Tampa Bay region as it prepares to host it’s fifth Super Bowl and it’s first Wrestlemania. Super Bowl LV will mark the third time the event has been held at Raymond James Stadium, with the last one being played there in 2009. While the game itself won’t happen until Feb. 7, 2021, the region is already buzzing with hype and there will no doubt be multiple must-attend events in 2020 leading up to the big game. On the chance that the Buccaneers are able to have a big turnaround season in 2020, their home games will undoubtedly also become can’t-miss events. 

Perhaps the biggest Tampa Bay-based event actually happening in 2020 is Wrestlemania 36, which will also take place at Raymond James Stadium on April 5. Wrestlemania has been ranked by Forbes as the sixth-most valuable sports brand in the world, so the fact it is taking place in Tampa Bay is no small accomplishment. What is expected to be a sellout event at Raymond James Stadium is a testament to just how far the region has come from both an economic and tourism standpoint.   

Also on the list of incredible events happening within the region for 2020 is Florida’s largest annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, which takes place in St. Petersburg and is gearing up for what will most likely be another record-shattering attendance year. St. Pete Pride 2020 takes place this year from June 26-28 and is expected to attract over 250,000 people celebrating the beauty of diversity and inclusion, a true testament to the inclusive environment of the Tampa Bay community. 

2020 promises to be a lot of things for the Tampa Bay region: a year of more growth, more opportunity, more collaboration and definitely more unforgettable events. 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.visittampabay.com/