The Tampa Bay Lightning has introduced a winter sport in a city where it never gets cold. The team plays Canada’s national game in America’s sunshine state. And they play it well which is why this squad is supported by a large and loyal fan base.
The building the Lightning call home goes by the name of Amalie Arena. It was known by several other names in years past. When this building opened in 1996, the name on the front was Ice Palace Arena. That name stood until 2002 when a new sponsor paid for a name change. The building then became known as the St. Pete Times Forum.
Graphic via tbo
In 2012, another name change had people calling this ice hockey arena the Tampa Bay Times Forum. That name lasted for a mere two years when the current name, Amalie Arena, was given to the building.
This arena, like most other arenas that exist for indoor winter sports, is actually a multi-purpose venue. While hockey is the primary sport played in Amalie Arena, it is not the only form of entertainment or sport that takes place.
The Tampa Bay Lightning play forty home games in Amalie Arena, frequently in front of a capacity crowd of 19,204 animated and excited fans. But basketball can be and is played at this downtown arena, too. Capacity for the sport with baskets and rims is twenty thousand five hundred people.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) regularly entertains as many as nineteen thousand five hundred “crazed” fans, generally young people, at major wrestling events, including WWE Survivor Series, Summer Slam and others.
Of course, most arenas are home to concerts where top talent headline shows that get local attention and lots of fans coming through the turnstile. Amalie Arena concerts have a seating capacity of 21,500 which may be why music artists like Britney Spears, Garth Brooks and many others have performed there.
Britney Spears’s show was sold out almost as quickly as tickets become available. That was true for Garth Brooks, too.
Interestingly, there is another tenant sharing the rink with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It is the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League (AFL). Arena football is as its name implies, football played indoors. The field of play is the hockey rink, with the ice surface removed.
Unlike NFL football, the distance from goal post to goal post is just fifty yards. This unusual indoor sport has legions of passionate fans and, in Amalie Arena, is played before nineteen thousand people.
Arena Football is so popular in Tampa Bay that the Arena Football League chose Amalie Arena as the site for Arena Bowl XII in 1998 and Arena Bowl XLII in 2003.
In a city where people enjoy “the great outdoors,”, Amalie Arena and its indoor sports and entertainment presentations has found a home and an audience.
Graphic via amaliearena