The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Sports Authority have tentatively reached an agreement that would result in a comprehensive renovation of Raymond James Stadium. The multi-stage renovation plan is expected to exceed $100 million and must receive approval from Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, and the TSA Board of Directors. The TSA's contribution to the overall project is $28.8 million, of which $25.8 million was already required of the TSA to maintain Raymond James Stadium. The additional $3 million from TSA was agreed upon to further enlarge and enhance the initial proposed new video boards. Sources for the public funding are available from recent TSA bond refinancing savings and the 4th cent Tourist Development Tax. The Buccaneers are responsible for all remaining improvement costs.
"This is a great day for our entire community as we work toward an agreement that ensures Raymond James Stadium will remain one of the top sports facilities in the country," said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford. "The proposed agreement will provide the type of much-needed enhancements that will improve the in-game experience for our loyal Buccaneer fans and will play a key role in our ability to attract the types of large-scale events that we have grown accustomed to hosting over the years. These exciting projects have been made possible through the hard work and foresight of all parties, including public officials from the TSA, Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa."
The proposed first stage of the renovations are scheduled to be completed for the Buccaneers 2016 season. The centerpiece of the first phase of projects will be the installation of new, state-of-the-art HD video boards in each end zone, four HD tower video displays in each corner of the lower bowl and HD ribbon boards in the center ring of the suite level. The proposed new end zone boards will be expanded and measure 9,600 square feet each, while each tower display will measure 2,304 square feet for a total video display area of 28,416 square feet—the third-largest in the NFL. The project will also include a new, state-of-the-art sound system and concessions upgrades, in addition to the renovation of all luxury suites.
The second phase of renovations – which will be completed in time for the team's 2017 season – will include an extensive renovation of the east and west club lounges, expansions of the general concourses, construction of a team store, and other general fan enhancements.
The Buccaneers are committed to spend a minimum of $29 million on Phase 1 improvements and $28.8 million on Phase 2, combined with the TSA's $28.8 million. Additional enhancements are expected to be added, which would put the total project in excess of $100 million. The Buccaneers would be responsible for all costs of any additional enhancements. In consideration of the additional $3 million TSA has proposed for the enhanced video boards, the Buccaneers have agreed to change the revenue split above $2 million in TSA profits, from 50/50 to a 67/33 split in favor of TSA.
"The proposed improvements would be a huge win for our community, as fans will be provided an enhanced event experience and Tampa will be uniquely positioned to host future world class events at Raymond James Stadium," said Tampa Sports Authority President/CEO Eric Hart. "I would like to thank the administrations of both Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their efforts in developing this innovative plan."
The agreement is scheduled to be presented for consideration and approval to the full TSA Board of Directors on December 15th, followed by the Hillsborough County Commission the following day on December 16th and the Tampa City Council on December 17th.