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Old 09-18-2012, 09:00 PM
 
48 posts, read 113,945 times
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The sunbelt region seems like an odd place to have a hockey team to many outsiders. However, I went to a Lightning game this past March when I was in Tampa, and they seemed pretty popular in the area. And despite being only 20 years old, they already have a Stanley Cup championship. How popular are the Bolts among the Tampa residents? And where does Steven Stamkos rank in terms of popularity among pro athletes in Tampa?

In case you were wondering, yes, I am a Lightning fan.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,217,684 times
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The Bolts have done well since Jeff Vinik took over ownership. He's renovated the Tampa Bay Times Forum and has really done well taking care of season ticket holders with perks. I think they have the best attendance for the three major sports franchises in the area. The Bolts benefit from a lot of the snowbirders here from Canada and the other northern cities - seems like there are a lot of opponent fans in the arena for every game, so that helps the attendance in the long run. The team, although doing well with its attendance, is probably third in popularity behind the Rays and Bucs. The Rays don't have great attendance, but have a large TV viewing audience and seems to be the talk of the town more so than the Bolts. Stamkos isn't the top sports guy in the area and sometimes even takes a back seat to Vinnie and Martin.

Personally, I've tried to like the sport - have gone to a lot of open to the public practices, watched on TV, gone to several games - but I usually leave before the 3rd period out of boredom. I know that's strange, but I never played the sport and can't appreciate it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
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I like the Bolts and would love to take the family to a game this winter. Obviously, moving from Alaska, we like hockey.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:29 PM
 
48 posts, read 113,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucFan View Post
The Bolts have done well since Jeff Vinik took over ownership. He's renovated the Tampa Bay Times Forum and has really done well taking care of season ticket holders with perks. I think they have the best attendance for the three major sports franchises in the area. The Bolts benefit from a lot of the snowbirders here from Canada and the other northern cities - seems like there are a lot of opponent fans in the arena for every game, so that helps the attendance in the long run. The team, although doing well with its attendance, is probably third in popularity behind the Rays and Bucs. The Rays don't have great attendance, but have a large TV viewing audience and seems to be the talk of the town more so than the Bolts. Stamkos isn't the top sports guy in the area and sometimes even takes a back seat to Vinnie and Martin.

Personally, I've tried to like the sport - have gone to a lot of open to the public practices, watched on TV, gone to several games - but I usually leave before the 3rd period out of boredom. I know that's strange, but I never played the sport and can't appreciate it.
Thanks BucFan. Since you say Vinny and Marty are the most popular Bolts players in the area, how are they in terms of popularity compared to the star players on the Bucs and Rays?
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
1,389 posts, read 1,948,519 times
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They seem to have a pretty decent local following but I have to say, many of them are ignorant of the game and its rules. Every game I've been to, they cheer when their team does something (icing the puck out of desperation, committing turnovers in the neutral zone, etc.) that isn't cheerworthy. Half the time the whistle is blown for whatever reason, I hear people around me asking what's going on.

Oh and then there's the moron who tried to jeer me because I root for, quote, "Obama's team" (Capitals). Really, idiot? Really?
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,169,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotStove View Post
The sunbelt region seems like an odd place to have a hockey team to many outsiders.
Not that strange considering so many people living in Tampa are from either the Upper Midwestern or the Northeast.
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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the game was really interesting .I visit there often to meet my favorite players and we have fun all the time http://www.tampabaynannies.net/image...face-50x50.jpg
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:05 AM
 
4,158 posts, read 7,914,070 times
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I went to a Lightning game and it was pretty intense. Great crowd, great atmosphere, great enthusiasm. I'm not a hockey fan myself so I'm basing my experience purely from an entertainment stand point, not quality of the team or play. From what I understand the ownership has really endeared itself to the community. Although they may not be most popular, they certainly have loyal fans. They even play pre-season games here in Orlando which are also fairly popular. I think it really shows how far ownership-town relations go towards the success of a franchise.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,217,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotStove View Post
Thanks BucFan. Since you say Vinny and Marty are the most popular Bolts players in the area, how are they in terms of popularity compared to the star players on the Bucs and Rays?
I would say that they (Bolt players) are third behind any of the baseball or football stars. I'd say the Rays (Longoria and Price are the top big sports stars right now. Josh Freeman probably next, but he's low key and doesn't get a lot of notice, especially after last season. Buc players aren't really a favorite right now - but expect that they will very soon (Vince Jackson and Doug Martin). I may be very biased on the subject. Others probably will tell you that the Bolts are higher, but I don't think so.
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:31 AM
 
1,106 posts, read 1,953,560 times
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The accessibility of the Lightning players is much better than any other franchise. There are multiple opportunities throughout the season to meet the players at many, many charity and promotional events. We're not talking "Bucs Day" where you can show up to get a glimpse of your favorite player from across the field or stand in line for hours to get an autograph. They have hours-long events (like Glitz & Sticks) where you can actually have a drink and chat with the coaches and players for quite a while. Vinny's annual poker night (which just happened) pairs up several players and local celebs with attendees at each table.

If you don't have a jersey with at least 15-20 Lightning autographs, you just aren't trying very hard. Try that with the Bucs or the Rays....
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