TAMPA (FOX 13) - Officials said $100 million worth of upgrades could be coming to Raymond James Stadium.
As part of an agreement announced Wednesday, the Bucs would pay a minimum of $58 million towards the improvements, while Hillsborough County would pay $29 million. The county's contribution would come from the tourist tax, which must be spent on sports facilities or promoting tourism.
The renovation would include two new end zone video boards that are more than four times the size of the current ones, as well as video boards on each of the four corners of the stadium. It would also include a new sound system, new concessions and a new concourse. These renovations would be completed in time for the Buccaneers' 2016 season.
A second phase of renovations would include renovations of the club lounges, expansions of the general concourses, a team store and other fan enhancements. This phase is expected to be completed for the Bucs' 2017 season.
"The beauty of the agreement is we're not using general revenue dollars," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, who helped broker the deal. "These are tourist tax dollars that can only be used for stadium improvements to promote tourism and we're actually saving taxpayer dollars because we're going to be earning more from events that we host by altering the revenue sharing agreement with the Buccaneers. So this is a win for the taxpayers. This is a win for the fans."
Negotiations began in January but stalled in the fall when the Bucs asked for a the right to play a second "home" game away from Raymond James Stadium; the team currently has the right to play one preseason "home" game away from the stadium.
Hagain said the Bucs dropped that request, allowing for the deal to move forward -- a necessity, according to the commissioner, with Tampa hosting the College Football National Championship game in 2017.
"I think ultimately the sense of urgency on both sides. We have contractual obligations to make improvements to the stadium, not only for the Buccaneers but also for the College Football National Championship Game," he said, adding he believes the renovations would increase the likelihood of Tampa hosting a Super Bowl in 2019 or 2020."We're going to collectively have the third largest video screens in all of the NFL. So with these state-of-the-art amenities will allow us to aggressively compete for world-class events in the future like the Super Bowl."
"The proposed improvements would be a huge win for our community, as fans will be provided an enhanced event experience and Tampa will be uniquely positioned to host future world class events at Raymond James Stadium," added Tampa Sports Authority President/CEO Eric Hart.
The terms of the agreement would have to be approved by the Sports Authority board, Tampa’s City Council and the Hillsborough County Commissioners. The Sports Authority, a public agency, owns and operates Raymond James Stadium.
If the deal is approved, some of the changes could also be ready in time for the College Football Championship game played in Tampa in January of 2017.