Whether it’s football, hockey, or baseball season, we Floridians have a lot to be proud of when it comes to Tampa sports teams! Before you gather with a group of friends at a Bradenton restaurant to watch the next big game, get yourself up to speed on who’s up to bat or who’s lining up for kickoff with our guide to Tampa sports teams, below!
Often referred to as “the Bucs,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Tampa’s National Football League team, established in 1976. Since then, they’ve gone through the thrilling ups and downs that are typical of professional sports teams, hitting a high point as Super Bowl champions in 2003. Through it all, Floridians’ loyalty to the Bucs has never wavered, continuing to make their way to Raymond James Stadium in droves for every home game. Wondering how they got their name? The Buccaneers are named after the pirates who frequented Florida’s Gulf Coast during the 17th century.
There’s no better way to enjoy the Florida sunshine than with a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game! Catch a game at the Tropicana Field Stadium to see the Rays in action while you chow down on craft nachos, fresh sushi bowls, firecracker shrimp, and more. Established in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the team’s name was shortened to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. The Rays have earned a spot in the hearts of many Floridians both for their skills and dedication on the field and their contributions to local communities through the Rays Baseball Foundation, fundraising events, scholarships for local students, and much more.
Established in 1992, the Tampa Bay Lightning represents Tampa in the National Hockey League. Whether hockey season is on or off, you’re likely to hear locals chattering about the Lightning and whether they’ll bring home another Stanley Cup as they did in 2004. You’ll catch the Lightning (often called the Bolts) playing home games at the Amalie Arena, where fans go wild as the Bolts’ beloved mascot ThunderBug entertains them. What’s in a name? The Tampa Bay Lightning founder, Phil Esposito, says he got inspiration for the name from a nasty thunderstorm that hit during a BBQ he was attending, throwing lightning down left and right. With Floria being just as well-known for its thunderstorm events as it is for warm sunshine, we’d say the name was a good call!
With so much lush green grass around Florida, it should come as no surprise that fútbol is just as popular as football around here. If you enjoy a friendly game of soccer in our local parks, you’ll love watching the Tampa Bay Rowdies show off their dribbling, juggling, and bicycle kicks at Al Lang Stadium home games. In addition to a team full of highly-skilled pros, the Rowdies boast a significant history as the very first professional sports team in the Tampa Bay area, established in 1975 – one year before the Buccaneers.
Planning a trip to Tampa Bay? Our local tips can help. After exploring our guide to Tampa sports teams, check out some of the best beaches near Tampa and find out where the best restaurants are in the area or explore how to spend Christmas in Tampa. Whether you’re a long-time local or you’re just passing through, you can consider the locally-based team at Cox Chevrolet as your trusted guide to the best Palmetto dining and so much more!
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