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The Bucs, the stadium and the tax

Published Aug. 31, 2005

1995

Jan. 16: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sold to Palm Beach businessman Malcolm Glazer for a reported $192-million. Glazer demands a new stadium.

Jan. 27: A stadium task force is formed to develop a strategy for building a new stadium and finding a way to pay for it.

Sept. 27: Malcolm Glazer pledges to pay "about half" of the cost of a new stadium. In return, the Glazers ask that Bucs fans support the team by purchasing season tickets and making refundable Charter Seat Deposits of $190 to $2,450.

Late 1995 _ The Glazers say they are "devastated" by poor response to their seat deposit drive and say they'll explore options with other communities. Baltimore, Hartford, Los Angeles, Orlando and Osceola County are all mentioned as possible destinations.

1996

March 25: Glazers sign a deal to build a $168-million stadium in Tampa, contingent on local government approval and the passage of a rental car tax to help pay for it.

April 22: State legislators reject a rental car tax, saying Hillsborough County can raise property taxes if it wants to build a stadium.

May 8: Hillsborough commissioners agree to hold a referendum on a sales tax to build the stadium. Eventually, the measure becomes known as the Community Investment Tax, a half-cent increase for 30 years with money going toward schools, public works, public safety projects and a stadium.

Aug. 19: Former Tampa Mayor William F. Poe files suit to stop the sales tax vote, saying the Florida Constitution prohibits public support for a private company like the Bucs.

Aug. 26: A judge rejects Poe's challenge to halt the referendum.

Sept. 3: Hillsborough voters pass the Community Investment Tax, 53 percent to 47 percent.

Sept. 26: Poe files another lawsuit asking a judge to declare the plan to spend tax money on a new stadium unconstitutional. Stadium backers say uncertainty over the litigation could threaten Tampa's hopes to host a future Super Bowl and delays could mean costly penalties for local government.

Oct. 15: Construction begins on the new stadium.

Oct. 31: Tampa is awarded 2001 Super Bowl for the new stadium.

1997

March 3: Trial on Poe's stadium challenge begins.

March 21: Circuit Judge Sam Pendino objects to giving the Bucs the first $2-million in non-football revenue each year for the life of the 30-year agreement. He indicates that he would have no problem with the deal if that section was revised. Poe appeals Pendino's ruling to the Florida Supreme Court.

May 22: The Florida Supreme Court overturns Pendino by ruling that the stadium and lease to Glazer are valid public purposes.

1998

June 26: Raymond James Financial Inc. acquires the naming rights to the stadium, for an average of $2.7-million a year in its 13-year deal.

Sept. 20: The Buccaneers play their first game in Raymond James Stadium, defeating the Chicago Bears 27-15.

Compiled by John Martin and Jeff Testerman