The Buccaneers are rolling out a new beach area in the south entry plaza of Raymond James Stadium for Sunday's home opener against the Eagles. The Bucs have brought in 1.2 million pounds of sand and outfitted 'Bucs Beach' with 120 Adirondack chairs, as well as lifeguard stands, tiki huts, surfboards and hammocks. The area will have live music and food trucks, and the Bucs will close off part of a street by the area on game days. Buccaneers COO Brian Ford said the team spent $250,000 creating the area. "It's going to be a destination for our fans," Ford said. The team also is debuting a new 10,000-square-foot restaurant/bar in the revamped East Stadium Club. Bar 76 features 76 different beers, and the name refers to the Bucs' inaugural '76 season. The new beach plaza comes in addition to $160M in recent renovations to the stadium, which opened in '98. Upgrades include new video and display boards, as well as new food and beverage and club areas. The Glazer family, which owns the team, has paid for $130M of those upgrades, with the Tampa Sports Authority, city of Tampa and Hillsborough County having paid for $30M (Mike Sunnucks, Staff Writer). Bucs Chief Corporate Development & Brand Officer Atul Khosla said Bucs Beach is "meant to create an experience in how we reimagined the South Plaza space." Khosla added that opportunities for team sponsors such as AdventHealth "would normally not have a beach theme, but this represents a different opportunity for them and other sponsors." Khosla said that the concept is also "open to naming rights" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/12).
Fenway Park will see the sport of ice cross downhill "make its wintery debut in Boston" at the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in February '19, according to Hayden Bird of the BOSTON GLOBE. In ice cross downhill, a track covered in ice has four racers at a time "reach speeds of 50 miles per hour as they skate down a seven-story tower constructed on the right-field bleachers along a 2,000-foot course, replete with jumps and tight turns." Racers will then "follow the narrow track around the bases, finishing at home plate." Reigning women's ice cross downhill world champion Amanda Trunzo said, "A huge thing for our sport is to show it to people who have never seen it, and get it into new locations. That's how the sport will continue to develop." Bird noted the race at Fenway will be ice cross downhill's "first time in a major sports venue." Two-time men's ice cross downhill world champion Cameron Naasz said, "Having the event inside Fenway Park is going to be a game-changer for the sport of ice cross downhill." Construction on the track "will begin in January." Fenway "first hosted an extreme winter sports event" in '16, with Big Air at Fenway, which "helped instill confidence that ice cross downhill could follow." Fenway Sports Management Managing Dir Mark Lev estimated a "two-day attendance figure" for the event in the range of 40,000-50,000 (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 9/11).
The Bucks' new Fiserv Forum features "soaring spaces and grand staircases" as well as a "21st-century digital aesthetic," according to an architectural review by Mary Louise Schumacher of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The seating bowl "feels incredibly intimate, like a black box theater." The whole of the bowl is "darkly colored," which allows the court to "stand out, like a lit stage, for the drama of the NBA." The concourses are "wonderfully open" and full of "countless social spaces." All of the mechanicals and light fixtures "visually sink into the charcoal gray ceilings, which, again, give the spaces a clean and intimate feel." The "curving interior walls" create a "what's-around-that-edge sense of anticipation" inside the arena. When it comes to the exterior of the facility, "reasonable people will disagree about the arena's architectural style." The "signature flaw in the arena is a dramatic, sweeping roofline that appears unfinished," particularly near its rounded edge where it "looks like the builders ran out of the auburn-colored zinc cladding." Fans will not "notice the roofline issue" while visiting the arena on foot, but "from a distance, which is how buildings of this sort are meant to be read and how they have impact" (JSONLINE.com, 9/11).
In Atlanta, Tim Tucker noted a "new 11-acre multipurpose greenspace officially opened" yesterday on the site where the Georgia Dome once stood. The Home Depot Backyard will be "used as a tailgating area on game days," starting with the Falcons' home opener on Sunday against the Panthers. The green space, which was "built atop 15 feet of crushed debris from the Georgia Dome," now includes "expanses of lush natural grass, wide walkways, a playground and a pavilion" (AJC.com, 9/11).
FIELD OF DREAMS: In Miami, Adam Beasley noted the playing surface at Hard Rock Stadium has "held up well" despite being used for a "third time in as many days." Dolphins Vice Chair, President & CEO Tom Garfinkel tweeted that grounds crews "put in new field" after the preseason game against the Ravens after a Taylor Swift concert. He added that the crews then "took it out and put in new field" after a Jay-Z concert last Tuesday, and then worked until 6:00am ET Friday and until 4:00am Sunday morning to have the field ready for Titans-Dolphins. Garfinkel: "They bust their butts and do a great job" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 9/9).
CAN'T WIN THEM ALL: In Boston, Devra First wrote under the header, "The Patriots Are A World-Class Team. So Why Isn't The Food At Gillette Better?" First noted inside Gillette Stadium, "greasy Papa Gino's pizza, hot dogs and stale pretzels rule the day, with more gourmet offerings largely reserved for premium seating." Concessions at the venue are "managed by an in-house food and beverage department." The current offerings "clash with the team's image and send the wrong message" (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 9/8).