Super Bowl Chances For Tampa DwindlingMay 1st, 2013
Joe has written about this several times before, mostly because it deals with the Tampa Bay community, though not so much with the Bucs.
Yesterday, plans and models were released for the new Dixie Chicks stadium in Atlanta. There are two models, one of which is called “Pantheon,” which looks absolutely spectacular. The images and plans can be downloaded here.
There were some features involved in the new stadium that Joe has harped on as ones that need to happen at the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway.
Joe knows there are several local fans who have been to Jags games. The stadium in Jacksonville itself is, well, meh. But the tailgating on concrete (much of which under the shade of interstate overpasses), and not eating dust all day long along, with the option of tailgating at Jacksonville Landing and taking a boat to a game, and the “Bud Zone,” makes for a great way to take in a game; best in Florida.
The “Bud Zone” is a sports bar in the end zone of the stadium (is it still called “The Gator Bowl?) where fans can not only watch the game in air conditioning, but if the game gets out of hand or there are breaks in the game, fans can watch other games on the bar’s many TV sets.
Well, if the plans for the Dixie Chick stadium come true, that stadium will feature a “Fantasy Football Lounge,” which looks like a cross between the TV set up at Hooters combined with the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It. Is. Impressive.
Why the Tampa Sports Authority cannot construct a sports bar — and no, a kiosk on a wooden patio deck in the end zone does not count — at the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway, Joe cannot explain.
Other proposed features of the new Dixie Chicks stadium are seats just like modern movie theater seats, which will shake when there’s a big hi on the field, and something right up Joe’s alley, “the 100-Yard Bar,” a cocktail bar that runs the length of the field where patrons can see the whole field without leaving.
Artie Blank, who owns the Dixie Chicks, knows that more and more (as Joe has pointed out countless times) fans are choosing to stay home and watch games rather than head to the stadium, which sometimes lags far behind the at-home experience.
The new gizmos and bells and whistles at the new Dixie Chicks stadium are just an extension of the gaudy features at JerryWorld. Teams have to give fans a reason to come: the game alone doesn’t do it any longer.
Why is Joe writing about this? Well, once this Dixie Chicks stadium is built, look for it to join a regular rotation of Super Bowl sites including New Orleans, Arizona, Indianapolis, and big improvements are on the way in Charlotte.
Additionally, every time a new stadium is built, it gets a Super Bowl. That’s why New Jersey has one this winter (and we should all cross our fingers for a blizzard for the ages at that time). San Francisco and Minneapolis will have new stadiums soon, and if St. Louis wants to keep the Rams, they will have to undergo either a massive renovation to a building that is only three years older than the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway, or build a brand new dome to keep the Rams. All these cities likely will get a Super Bowl before Tampa Bay.
Not to be forgotten, the Dolphins were told by the NFL that unless they upgrade Whatever-The-Hell-That-Stadium-Is-Named-These-Days, Miami will not get another Super Bowl. Steve Ross, owner of the ‘Phins, is trying to obtain financing as Joe types this.
Another Super Bowl in Tampa Bay? Sure looks like a long, long way off.
That could change, however. The Tampa Sports Authority better get with it for that to happen and upgrade the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway, at least the upgrades that were included in the voter-approved referendum to build the stadium.
Otherwise, it may be a generation before another Super Bowl is held in Tampa.