The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.
Construction continues throughout this summer, and the Bucs' first two preseason games are again on the road to allow for completion. Local media were given a tour of the new area, which includes "Bar 76" (referencing the team's first season in 1976) as a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and bar in the East Stadium Club's atrium.
That bar will boast 76 varieties of beer and all sorts of new food, complete with local flavor — giant Munich-style pretzels with a beer cheese made with Cigar City's Jai Alai IPA, deviled crab dip and peel-and-eat shrimp harvested from the Florida Keys and much more.
The Bucs are touting the East Stadium Club as "affordable luxury," with seats starting at $155 per game, or $1,550 for a full season. Initial response has been strong, but there are still seats available. The new East club will have 160 TVs and a smaller version of the team store now in the West Stadium Club.
The overall renovation now has cost about $160 million, but the public cost has only been $28 million, according to the Tampa Sports Authority's Eric Hart, who attended Thursday's media tour. A year ago, the Bucs unveiled the West Stadium Club, and the year before, the highlight of those renovations included the stadium's new video boards.
Bucs CEO Brian Ford said the overall renovation has now passed 200,000 man-hours in providing local jobs in the Tampa community.