The XFL, originally a brainchild of WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, recently unveiled the eight cities and the stadiums that were chosen to be the home sites when the league returns in February 2020. Tampa Bay, Florida is one of those cities. The other cities are Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; New York, St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington, and Washington D.C. The Tampa Bay XFL Franchise is said to be playing its games at The Raymond James Stadium, where The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently play it’s NFL Games.
Tampa is a major city in, and the county seat of, Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is on The West Coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf Of Mexico and is the largest city in the Tampa Bay Area. The bay’s port is the largest in the state, near Downtown’s Channel District. Bayshore Boulevard runs along the bay and is east of the historic Hyde Park neighborhood.
Today, Tampa is part of The Metropolitan Area most commonly referred to as The “Tampa Bay Area.” For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The four-county area is composed of roughly 3.1 Million residents, making it the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state and the fourth largest in The Southeastern United States, behind Washington D.C., Miami & Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay Area has over 4 million residents and generally includes The Tampa & Sarasota Metro Areas. The city had a population of 335,709 at The 2010 census and an estimated population of 385,430 in 2017.
The Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between 2000 & 2006, The Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 Million to 3.9 Million and hitting The 4 Million population mark on April 1st, 2007. A 2012 estimate shows The Tampa Bay Area population to have 4,310,524 people and a 2017 projection of 4,536,854 people.
The Tampa Bay Area is home to many sports teams and has a substantial history of sporting activity. Most of the region’s professional sports franchises use The Name “Tampa Bay,” which is the name of a body of water, not of any city. This is to emphasize that they represent the more full metropolitan area and not a particular municipality.
Three of those sports teams that are said to be competing at the top level are The Tampa Bay Buccaneers that play in The National Football League (NFL), The Tampa Bay Lightning that plays in The National Hockey League (NHL) and The Tampa Bay Rays that represent in Major League Baseball (MLB). Additionally, six MLB Teams hold their Spring Training Camps in the area.
Some Minor League Franchises play in the region as well including The Tampa Bay Rowdies of The United Soccer League and four Minor League Baseball Teams competing in The Class-A Florida State League. In Intercollegiate Sports, The University of South Florida Bulls compete in NCAA Division I, while Eckerd College, Saint Leo University & The University Of Tampa compete in NCAA Division II.
Professional football first arrived in The Tampa Bay Area in 1964, when The American Football League staged an Exhibition Game between The Buffalo Bills & The New York Jets. Five years later, The Miami Dolphins & The Minnesota Vikings faced off in a joint AFL-NFL Preseason Game before The 1969 season, the final one before the two leagues would merge.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of The NFL began to play in The Old Tampa Stadium in 1976 as an expansion team. After losing an NFL-record 26 straight games to start their existence, The Buccaneers reached The 1979 NFC Championship Game only to sink back into futility with an NFL-record 14 consecutive losing seasons through The 1980s and early 1990s.
The franchise’s fortunes began a turnaround in The mid-90s under coach Tony Dungy, and the success continued after the team moved into newly built Raymond James Stadium in 1998. The upward trend culminated in The Buccaneers’ first championship at the end of The 2002 Season under Coach Jon Gruden, when they defeated The Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. The Buccaneers have made several playoff appearances since then but have not returned to the championship game. Dirk Koetter became The Buccaneers Head Coach beginning with The 2016 season.
On March 5th, 2019, it is being said that the team will announce it’s Head Coach. Marc Trestman has implied that he will be the one hired. He was a successful coach in The Canadian Football League, winning The Grey Cup three times in his seven-year tenure in the league. Many of The XFL’s proposed rule changes are similar to the rules in The CFL.
Not only is The Professional Football Industry a considerable market in The Tampa Bay Area, but so is it’s media coverage. The Tampa Bay Media Market is Florida’s second-largest metropolitan area with a variety of print, online & broadcast media outlets serving the region. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population for The Tampa-St. Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) at 2,733,761 as of July 1st, 2008. The Tampa Bay Media Market also includes Citrus, Manatee, Sarasota & Polk counties. Media also serve polk County from Orlando. This means that there will be no issue whatsoever in advertising, exposing and letting the people of The Tampa Bay Area know who exactly is their XFL Team.
Despite this being the first time The Tampa Bay Area will be hosting an XFL Team, this is not the first time they will be hosting a Professional Football Team. The Tampa Bay Area has undoubtedly amassed massive success in The Professional Football Industry with The Buccaneers, and they will continue to do so with their XFL Franchise. It will be interesting to see what precisely The Tampa Bay Area does with their XFL Franchise knowing that they have had success in The Professional Football Industry before.
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