Tampa Sports Authority okays Raymond James Stadium renovations; city, county to vote this week
TAMPA — The Tampa Sports Authority board of directors approved an agreement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday that could set the stage for more than $100 million in renovations to Raymond James Stadium.
Under the terms of the deal reached earlier this month, the TSA will contribute $29 million toward the renovations, while the Bucs will commit $57 million with plans to tack on an additional $13 million in improvements. The upgrades are expected to help attract future marquee events, like the Super Bowl. The NFL has already named Tampa a finalist to host its big game in 2019 and 2020.
The agreement passed 10-1. TSA board Chairman Andrew Scaglione was the lone no vote.
The TSA, a publicly supported agency, was already on the hook for about $26 million in maintenance and repairs, according to the terms of a 1996 lease agreement. The board agreed to increase their piece by another $3 million to help build larger, state-of-the-art scoreboards. The Bucs expect the stadium to have the third-largest combined square footage of video scoreboards in the NFL after the renovations.
The TSA will pay for the renovations using tourist tax dollars collected on hotel room stays.
In exchange for the additional TSA funds, the Buccaneers agreed to increase the TSA’s share of revenue from non-Bucs events held at the stadium, like concerts. The team also forgave Hillsborough County’s obligation to spend $12 million on a practice facility.
The renovations will take place in two phases, with the scoreboard and video display improvements, as well as upgrades to the sound system, concessions and luxury suites, scheduled to be completed before the 2016 season. That means they’ll also be ready for the Raymond James to host the 2017 NCAA National Championship game.
The remainder of the renovations, including changes to the concourse and team store, will be completed by the start of the 2017 season.
At one point during the negotiations, which began early this year, the Buccaneers demanded the flexibility to play a second home game away from Raymond James Stadium, causing negotiations to break down in late September. But the team backed away from that position. During renovations, the Bucs will be able to play two home preseason games at another site and can continue to play one home regular season game outside Tampa for the remainder of the lease agreement.
The Buccaneers dropped a previous demand that would have allowed the team to play a second home game away from Raymond
The Hillsborough County Commission and the Tampa City Council are scheduled to vote on the agreement Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.