When it comes to big events, we’re big time. No one rolls out the red carpet like Tampa Bay when it comes to Super Bowls, College Football Playoff championships and this weekend’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four, which will make a three-peat for Amalie Arena as host of that sport’s most visible event. However, there’s more to bring to town. What? We convene the Roundtable for answers.
It’s all good
Joey Knight, USF and colleges reporter @TBTimes_Bulls: Nothing. Now that we’ve snagged WrestleMania (arriving in 2020), we’ve collected what I deem all the desirable crown jewels (including the Super Bowl, Final Four, CFP title game, World Series, Stanley Cup finals). The only event of similar or greater magnitude would be the Olympics, and I don’t wish that massive logistical burden on my home region any time soon.
More CFP, please
Matt Baker, State colleges reporter @MattBakerTBTimes: I know, Tampa has already hosted the College Football Playoff national championship and probably will do so again, once the organization decides to start returning to old sites instead of spreading the wealth across the country. But I’m greedy. I’d like to see Tampa get into the semifinal rotation. The logistics here are better than regulars like Miami and Arizona, and I’d argue that college football interest is second only to the Bucs around town. So why not increase the ties to the CFP?
Tampa Bay needs to score a gooooaaaall!
Ernest Hooper, columnist/assistant sports editor @hoop4you: The list is almost complete except: World Cup Soccer. Raymond James would prove to be the perfect backdrop for a set of games when the planet’s most popular tournament returns to North America in 2026. Given that games will be split between Canada, the United States and Mexico, the competition will be fierce. But if Tampa Bay could earn a place on the international athletic stage, it would be, well, a kick in the grass.
Anybody have a real good lawn?
Martin Fennelly, columnist @mjfennelly: I know it’s a long shot, and there is the England thing, but why can’t Wimbledon have a rotation too? Saddlebrook would be up for it and my aunt makes really good strawberries and cream. My sister would make the costumes. Play. That or the AAC basketball tournament.
Feeling a draft?
Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer @NFLStroud: The NFL draft has become of the league’s signature events. It used to be held annually in NYC at Radio City Music Hall. But why not host it in downtown Tampa on the riverfront? There is nothing they will rally a community than watching 250 names being read during a three-day selectfest. And chances are the Bucs will be picking in the top 5. The draft and Tampa are perfect for one another. Have Bo Jackson, Steve Young and all the players who got away read the Bucs picks. Let’s get this done!
The place where the stars come out
Mike Sherman, sports editor, @mikesherman: The mid-summer classic’s arrival in Tampa Bay should be a package deal: The Rays get a new stadium, Tampa Bay gets the All-Star Game, but I’d like to propose a two-for-one. An All-Star Game for the Trop when/if a stadium deal is announced and another one within five years of the next stadium’s opening. How’s that for optimism?