The 2013 draft is nearly upon us, and once again it promises to be the most entertaining event of the entire NFL offseason. And for fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the best way to experience that event is once again the Official Draft Party Presented by Miller Lite.
This much you'll know if you head over to Raymond James Stadium on the evening of Thursday, April 25: The party will be packed, the admission will be free, the draft coverage will be wall-to-wall and the food and beverage will be discounted, as always. Beyond that, there's no way to predict how the night will turn out.
A little less than a year ago, the NFL opened its 2012 draft with a first round on Thursday in prime time, and the Buccaneers began the night holding the fifth overall pick. As a Buccaneers fan, you were probably tuned in – perhaps you were at the Draft Party – and eager to see which player your team would select at #5.
Did it go the way you expected?
Only the remarkably prescient or the historically revisionist would answer yes to that question. General Manager Mark Dominik engineered a series of trades that Thursday night to grab Alabama safety Mark Barron at pick #7 and Boise State running back Doug Martin at #31, in the process setting the team up to make a run at Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David the following evening. It was a heady evening of maneuvering for Dominik, Head Coach Greg Schiano and company, and an unpredictable and thoroughly engaging evening for Buccaneer fans.
Especially those who chose to gather at Raymond James Stadium to experience the first round among like-minded fans. The Buccaneers' Official Draft Party has become a highly-anticipated event, with thousands gathering in the East Club Lounge at Raymond James Stadium to share their enthusiasm. All you have to do is show up and be ready to cheer, as admittance to the event is free and the night will be filled with exclusive entertainment, autograph opportunities and, again, discounted food and beverage.
The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft begins at 8:00 p.m. ET, but doors to the East Club Lounge open at 6:00 p.m. Fans can also park for free, with public parking in lots 5, 6, 6D and 7, beginning at 4:30 p.m. For more information, including a map with parking locations, visit the Official Draft Party page here.
WDAE 620 AM, the official flagship of the Buccaneers Radio Network, will be broadcasting live from the party, providing in-depth coverage before and during the first round. The Buccaneers are slated to pick 13th overall, although again, history suggests that's anything but a certainty. Televised draft coverage will be displayed on the Club Lounge's video walls throughout the evening along with coverage provided by Buccaneers.com, complete with live check-ins from draft headquarters in New York City. Minutes after the Buccaneers make their first-round selection, Buccaneers.com will provide an exclusive on-scene interview with the team's newest player. If you're following the team's draft on Twitter, it will be particularly easy at the Draft Party, as the live Twitter feed will be displayed on the video walls. Join in the conversation on Twitter using "#itsabucsdraft."
Party sponsor Miller Lite will be getting in on the fun, too. They'll be providing MillerCoors Premium Beer Sampling to attendees who are 21 years or older. Fans will also have a chance to win autographed items at the Miller Lite tent.
Buccaneers Season Pass Members will enjoy further benefits during the evening, including early access, complimentary food and beverages, access to the both the Pirate Ship and the field and special member gifts and drawings. Fans interested in becoming Season Pass Members may talk to representatives and purchase passes during the evening, as well, or they can contact a Buccaneers representative today by calling 866-582-BUCS (2827) or visiting the ticket section here on Buccaneers.com.
"The NFL Draft is one of the most compelling periods of the offseason, and we're looking forward to bringing our fans together to share their enthusiasm and excitement," said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford. "There will be some special privileges for our Season Pass Members, as well as activities and discounted concessions for everyone in attendance. We are thrilled to partner with Miller Lite to provide Bucs fans with a taste of football through the NFL Draft."
If you're reading this, you're probably going to be watching the draft on Thursday anyway. Why not watch it on huge HD video walls inside the Club Lounge? Not only will you be in the middle of a huge crowd of Buc fans, but you'll get the chance to mingle with Buccaneers Cheerleaders and prominent team alumni. You'll also have the opportunity to partake of discounted food and beverages. And, best of all, you'll feel like you were a part of Buccaneers history.
If you can't make it out to Raymond James Stadium on April 25, stay with us all night long digitally through Buccaneers.com, the Buccaneers Official Facebook Page, Twitter (@TBBuccaneers, @THECaptainFear, @BucsLife) and Instagram (@BucsLife) using the hashtag #itsabucslife.
Join us Thursday night, April 25, for the Official Buccaneers Draft Party Presented by Miller Lite.