For the first time since 2015, Spartan is heading to Raymond James Stadium, the home of iconic quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for a Stadion race on May 13. Raymond James Stadium is one of the crown jewels of the NFL, and fans will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run through the bleachers and sprint on the same field as Hall of Famers.
In addition to being the home of the Bucs, Raymond James Stadium has established itself as one of the premier entertainment venues in the world during its 25-year existence. Some of the most famous and talented people on the planet have played and performed there, and now you have a chance to follow in their footsteps.
Before you step on the field, know the history that you're about to become a part of. Here are 5 fascinating facts about Raymond James Stadium.
5 Fascinating Facts About Raymond James Stadium, the Home of the Tampa Bay Bucs
1. A Replica Pirate Ship Stands Out (With a Parrot!)
If you ask someone what they think of when Raymond James Stadium comes to mind, they'll almost always say the same thing: the pirate ship. (As the home field of the Buccaneers, there is no shortage of pirate references throughout the stadium.)
The Raymond James pirate ship replica is one of the most distinguished stadium landmarks in the country. Made out of steel and concrete, it stands 103 feet tall and weighs 43 tons. Whenever the Bucs win, score, or even enter the opponent's red zone, the ship's cannons go off. Keeping with the pirate theme, football fans can often hear Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me) played on game day, and a remote-controlled animated parrot sits on the ship, making remarks as fans pass by. You can count on the parrot making some noise on Stadion day.
2. The Many Teams That Have Called It Home
Raymond James Stadium is home to the Buccaneers, as we've mentioned, but it has also hosted other sports, and other teams, since it opened in 1998. The Division 1 South Florida Bulls have played their college football games there since 1998, and Major League Soccer's Tampa Bay Mutiny played their home games there from 1999 until 2001, when the team folded. The Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL played their home games at Raymond James Stadium in 2020, prior to moving to Orlando.
3. 3 Super Bowls, a Memorable National Championship, and WrestleMania
Raymond James Stadium has hosted three Super Bowls: XXXV in 2001, when the Ravens demolished the Giants; XLIII in 2009, when the Steelers topped the Cardinals in a nailbiter; and Super Bowl LV, when Tom Brady led the Bucs to their second Super Bowl in franchise history. That Super Bowl was historic, as it marked the first time in NFL history that a team won the Lombardi Trophy in its home stadium.
Beyond Super Bowls, Raymond James hosts two NCAA bowl games every year: the ReliaQuest Bowl and the Gasparilla Bowl. The stadium has also hosted two ACC Championship Games and the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, in which Clemson outgunned Alabama, 35-31, in one of the most memorable college football games ever. There have also been soccer matches, equestrian competitions, monster truck shows, and concerts at the stadium, as well as WrestleMania 37.
4. An Unmatched Visual and Audio Experience
Epic video boards, where you can see yourself blown up, are one of the coolest aspects of a Stadion race in a football stadium. And at Raymond James Stadium, the massive video board is about as good as it gets. There are two 9,600-square-foot boards — one by each end zone — plus four tower walls, each of which is 2,300 square feet. Altogether, the stadium boasts more than 31,000 square feet of video monitors, making it the third-largest system in the entire NFL. And it's not just visually impressive. More than 400 speakers power the booming sound system, giving off 750,000 watts of power. You can imagine what the rock concerts sound like in there — more on that below — and how incredible it will sound on race day.
5. The Record Attendance Came From...
The seating capacity at Raymond James Stadium is 69,218, but as is the case with most stadiums, that number can be stretched when demand is outrageous. In special circumstances, the stadium can pack in 75,000 fans. As we highlighted earlier, Raymond James Stadium has hosted a bevy of the most-watched and most-celebrated events on Earth: NFL games, national championship games, rock concerts, Super Bowls, and WrestleManias.
So which of these events brought in the most people? The 2017 CFP National Championship Game, in which 74,512 fans were on hand. Yes, that's even more than the three Super Bowls, the first two of which had more than 70,000 fans in attendance. (For the third Super Bowl at the stadium, in 2021, capacity was limited due to COVID-19.)
Speaking of rock concerts, Raymond James has featured some of the most successful and notable artists of all time, including U2, One Direction, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Kenny Chesney. In 2009, U2 set the attendance mark for a concert at Raymond James when 72,000 fans came to cheer on Bono and the Irish rock icons. That record still stands today.
For more information about the Stadion race at Raymond James Stadium, and to sign up, click here.