SPORTS TEAMS OF THE TAMPA BAY AREA
There are several sports teams in the Tampa Bay area who’s combined talents have lead to the nickname “Champa Bay”. The term was coined by fans as the city emerged as a new title town, following the winning streaks from the local home teams. The Tampa Bay Lightning first won the Stanley Cup, The Tampa Bay Rays then clinched the American League East Championship and ultimately the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV. The Tampa Bay Rowdies were also set to play for the title but the USL Championship Final was cancelled due to Covid-19.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (often shortened as the Bucs) are a professional American football franchise based in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers currently compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member team of the National Football Conference (NFC) South division. The team joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team. The club is owned by the Glazer family, and plays its home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The Buccaneers are the first post-merger, expansion team to win a division title, win a playoff game, and to host and play in a conference championship game; all three accomplishments occurred during the 1979 season. Add to that, the first to ever host and win the Super Bowl in their own Stadium which occurred during the 2020 season. They are also the first team since the merger to complete a winning season when starting 10 or more rookies, which happened in the 2010 season. In 1976 and 1977, the Buccaneers lost their first 26 games. After a brief winning era in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the team suffered through 14 consecutive losing seasons. Then, for a 10-year period, they were consistent playoff contenders and won Super Bowl XXXVII at the end of the 2002 season and Super Bowl LV at the end of the 2020 season.
In the 2020 season, Raymond James Stadium was chosen to host Super Bowl LV. As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers arose victorious in the playoffs, they became the first team ever to play in the Championship Game in their hometown. This historical event became an even bigger “History Making Moment” with they won Super Bowl LV on 02 07 2021 with Ther Greatest Player of all Time (G.O.A.T.) Tom Brady.
Captain Fear | The Buccaneers mascot is a pirate named Captain Fear, who’s trusty ship was rebuilt and is now a permanent fixture in Buccaneer Cove inside Raymond James Stadium.
Buccaneer Cheerleaders | The Bucs created an official cheerleading squad in their first season, called the “Swash-Buc-Lers.” In 1999, they were renamed as the “Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders.
MLB – Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are an American professional baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the American League (AL) East division. Since its inception, the team’s home venue has been Tropicana Field.
Following nearly three decades of unsuccessfully trying to gain an expansion franchise or enticing existing teams to relocate to the Tampa Bay area, an ownership group led by Vince Naimoli was approved on March 9, 1995. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays began play in the 1998 Major League Baseball season. Their first decade of play, however, was marked by futility; they finished in last place in the American League East in all but the 2004 season, when they finished second-to-last. Following the 2007 season, Stuart Sternberg, who had purchased controlling interest in the team from Vince Naimoli two years earlier, changed the team’s name from “Devil Rays” to “Rays”, now meant to primarily refer to a burst of sunshine rather than a manta ray, though a manta ray logo remains on the uniform sleeves. The 2008 season saw the Tampa Bay Rays post their first winning season, their first AL East championship, and their first pennant (defeating the rival Boston Red Sox in the ALCS), though they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in that year’s World Series. Since then, the Rays have been consistent contenders, gaining postseason berths in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
Raymond | Raymond is the mascot of the Tampa Bay Rays. This furry blue creature wearing a large pair of sneakers and a backwards baseball cap, completed with a Rays jersey, is described officially as a “seadog”, having been born somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.
DJ Kitty | The has been the secondary mascot for the Tampa Bay Rays and comes from the Internet sensation of a kitty playing a DJ System and dancing to the music. The cat wears a Tampa Bay Rays ring, wears chains, and wears his Rays hat backwards.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a professional ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida. It is a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Lightning have one Stanley Cup championship in their history, in 2003–04. The team is often referred to as the Bolts, and the nickname is used on the current third jersey. The Lightning plays home games in the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
The owner of the Lightning is Jeffrey Vinik, while Steve Yzerman serves as general manager. The team is coached by Jon Cooper, who has led the team since 2013.
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021, the Tampa Bay Lightning became one of nine teams to ever bring home back-to-back championship titles. The victories were celebrated with the Champions Boat Parade on the Hillsborough River.
ThunderBug | The Lightning mascot is a lightning bug named ThunderBug. He performs at games and makes appearances in the community. According to the Lightning website, Thunderbug enjoys birthday parties, street hockey, ice hockey and Lightning fans, while his dislikes include flyswatters and bug zappers.
Lightning Girls | An official dance team known as the Lightning Girls perform at all home games and community events.
ULS – Tampa Bay Rowdies
The Rowdies were the first professional sports franchise in the area and remain one of the most recognizable and well-loved brands in soccer. Originally established in 1975, the team won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship in its inaugural year and created a unique, entertaining and memorable franchise with the Fannies, Rowdies and unforgettable “Kick in the Grass” theme song. In 2008, a group of investors announced the purchase of rights to a professional soccer franchise and the newly established team began play in 2010. In 2012, the Rowdies won the NASL Soccer Bowl Championship after a thrilling shoot-out victory in front of a sold out crowd at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg.
The Rowdies won the USL Championship title in 2019 and where set to play for the title but the USL Championship Final was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Collegiate | University of South Florida
USF Intercollegiate Athletics is home to 17 men’s and women’s teams, including football, basketball, baseball, softball and soccer, competing at the NCAA level.
Intramural Sports offers organized competition in more than 30 different sports and activities including flag football, softball, ultimate Frisbee, swimming, wrestling, table tennis, team bowling and more.
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