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The Experience of Attending a Lightning Home Game

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Old
07-06-2014, 10:17 PM
  #1
BillyShoe1721
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The Experience of Attending a Lightning Home Game

Hello Lightning fans:

I am working on a series of article for The Hockey Writers about the signature experience of attending a game in every NHL arena. It will be a series of articles that covers each division and details what it's like to attend a game in every city.

So, what are some of the major highlights of attending a Lightning game? Is there a food item you have to get? An in-game tradition, something between periods? A great display out in the concourse to check out? A bar to go before or after the game around the arena? Basically, if a visitor was to see one game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, what are the things they should do, eat, or be a part of?

I saw the stickied thread about visiting Tampa, but I'm looking for more about the experience of attending the actual game.

Thanks, and I look forward to your responses.

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07-07-2014, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyShoe1721 View Post
Hello Lightning fans:

I am working on a series of article for The Hockey Writers about the signature experience of attending a game in every NHL arena. It will be a series of articles that covers each division and details what it's like to attend a game in every city.

So, what are some of the major highlights of attending a Lightning game? Is there a food item you have to get? An in-game tradition, something between periods? A great display out in the concourse to check out? A bar to go before or after the game around the arena? Basically, if a visitor was to see one game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, what are the things they should do, eat, or be a part of?

I saw the stickied thread about visiting Tampa, but I'm looking for more about the experience of attending the actual game.

Thanks, and I look forward to your responses.
Gotta be Sticks of Fire and I don't sit in 307

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Old
07-07-2014, 07:45 AM
  #3
Lightningfan24
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Well my first ever Lightning home game will likely be Oct 14th would like to get some info and experiences from people here.

I could tell you about MSG and Ranger home games since I had season tickets for the last 3 seasons. I can sum it up in two words.... Very Expensive.

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07-07-2014, 07:54 AM
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chasespace
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The arena was completely renovated a few years back so everything about the place is very modern and up-to-date. The organ is probably the centerpiece of the fan experience. The tesla coils are a wonderful niche kind of thing, and having one of, if not the, largest indoor screens never hurts either.

The fans are knowledgeable, loud, and passionate.

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07-07-2014, 07:58 AM
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ThunderAlleyNomad
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The signature experience is of course the lightning bolts from the Tesla Coils every time the Lightning score a goal. Nobody else does that.

The naming of the Lightning Community hero during the intermission is also cool. If you're not aware of that program, basically Jeff Vinik gives away $50,000 each home game to some person who runs some sort of charity. They show it on the jumbotron (biggest in the league!)

The outdoor party deck on the 300 level is also cool, but to me that's a done it once, don't really need to do it again kind of thing. Still interesting to check out and a great view from up there.

Oh, and the organ. Although they really need to get a different selection of music in there.

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07-07-2014, 08:21 AM
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Felonious Python
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It's really a story of the Vinik ownership.

If you want to get really detailed, the renovation thread is still active, which is obstinately the thread where we talk about the Lightning experience. You can sort of chronicle the past few years in them. From introduction of the idea, through construction, to the arena we have today.

part 1: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...d.php?t=865200
part 2: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...d.php?t=874452
part 3: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh....php?t=1513235

Channelside Live does probably deserve a brief mention as it's meant to tie in and enrich the downtown/TBTF experience.

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07-07-2014, 08:24 AM
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It's awesome! Check out poutine, the tesla coils and the party deck!

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07-07-2014, 08:35 AM
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I am SO excited to come to TB in October, firslty because I've never been to Florida and secondly because we are going to two TBL games, where is the place to sit?

I hope we score at least one goal across the two games because I want to see the tesla coils!!

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07-07-2014, 09:22 AM
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A lot of great points above. Some other things to add would be pictures with the Esposito and Andreychuk statues, or under the huge lightning bolts on the terrace outside of the arena. Additionally many times a year there are food and drink specials before and after the game. If you plan on eating a lot during the game there are all you can eat seats available as well. The concourse inside the stadium has been completely renovated and now offers bars and concessions with tables and chairs in view of the action too, so you can grab a bite without walking back to your seat or meet/wait for a friend and you won't miss the action. In terms of bars I've always gone to Hat Tricks which is in walking distance of the arena. Looking to the future, Mr. Vinik just purchased the rights to the Channelside district nearby and plans to turn it into an "L.A. Live" type of atmosphere. Link to a story about that idea here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/busines...vision/2186579

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07-07-2014, 09:27 AM
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ImaPuckhead
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A lot others have mentioned:

Party Deck (before and after Games)
tesla coils
Jumbo tron
Pipe Organ

Thunder Alley is another one IMHO. Before the games the area in front of the Arena has a bunch of stuff set up for kids, there is a stage with a band or music playing. A lot of fans hanging out in this outdoor space and the energy starts to build here.

They also show the game outside in this space against the parking garage.

Not sure if they are doing it in the upcoming season but on select games the players also arrive and walk into the arena on a red carpet and you can meet them along the way much like a Hollywood red carpet scene.


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07-07-2014, 11:10 AM
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I don't know if this is the best thing to bring up but it's a true part of the Lightning fan experience. Being in Florida the tourist trade brings fans of Northern clubs into the area during hockey season and there is usually a sizable component of fans for the other team in the arena. These fans can be decent folks on vacation taking an opportunity to visit another arena and root for their team or an obnoxious distraction, idiots who just want to bait and annoy the local fans.


Last edited by Bolto: 07-07-2014 at 01:04 PM.
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07-07-2014, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolto View Post
I don't know if the is the best thing to bring up but it's a true part of the Lightning fan experience. Being in Florida the tourist trade brings fans of Northern clubs into the area during hockey season and there is usually a sizable component of fans for the other team in the arena. These fans can be decent folks on vacation taking an opportunity to visit another arena and root for their team or an obnoxious distraction, idiots who just want to bait and annoy the local fans.
We aren't naming names on here.

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07-07-2014, 12:34 PM
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The tesla coils are truly unique, and definitely much louder than you'd think, particularly if you're sitting in the 300 section.

Whenever my wife and I go to a game, we buy tickets for the 300 section, but watch the 1st period from the corners. The arena has these 4 first-come-first-served standing areas on the main level where you can get a pretty good view of the game from nearer to the ice. Then, you just walk up to your seats in the 300 level and watch the last 2 periods.

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07-07-2014, 01:51 PM
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Lightningfan24
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What do the prices usually run for center ice seats?

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07-07-2014, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBLightning24 View Post
What do the prices usually run for center ice seats?
I am in section 117 (nearer center ice than blue line) and they work out to be about $96 a seat - $10 a game/seat forum bucks for full season. Plus a free Jersey again this year. I think that is the price for rows C-Z, sections 117, 118, 119
For individual games it depends on the opponent as there is a regular, and premium price.

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07-07-2014, 02:38 PM
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angelsil
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I've gotten single game tickets in section 101, row C for anywhere from $100 to $150 per game depending on opponent. Usually closer to $100. These were behind the benches.

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07-07-2014, 02:41 PM
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Lightningfan24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoltSTH View Post
I am in section 117 (nearer center ice than blue line) and they work out to be about $96 a seat - $10 a game/seat forum bucks for full season. Plus a free Jersey again this year. I think that is the price for rows C-Z, sections 117, 118, 119
For individual games it depends on the opponent as there is a regular, and premium price.
Wow. I had seats at the garden in Sec 113, which is the corner, home team shoots twice, and was paying around 165.00 a ticket.

Finding tickets is the least of my concern, I am not sure which jersey to buy once I get to the forum, lol.

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07-07-2014, 02:47 PM
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Lightningfan24
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I've gotten single game tickets in section 101, row C for anywhere from $100 to $150 per game depending on opponent. Usually closer to $100. These were behind the benches.
Yeah, I was looking to not spend much more than that for individual tickets. Glad I can get really good seats for less than 150.00 a ticket. I'm going to be in town the week of October 12th, so looking at that Devils game. Funny my first Tampa game will likely be against a local team of mine. Wanted to come down for the 11/26 game but it's Thanksgiving.

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07-07-2014, 03:13 PM
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ArmchairGoalie
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As far as food goes at the Forum, I LOVE BBQ Nachos!!! They are awesome!!! It's nice that there is an Outback Steakhouse stand there but the lines for that are always insanely long.

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07-07-2014, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by TBLightning24 View Post
I'm going to be in town the week of October 12th, so looking at that Devils game.
Devils game won't be too bad for pricing. It's not one of the teams that mob our barn.

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07-07-2014, 05:08 PM
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Lightningfan24
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As far as food goes at the Forum, I LOVE BBQ Nachos!!! They are awesome!!! It's nice that there is an Outback Steakhouse stand there but the lines for that are always insanely long.
Outback Steakhouse stand sounds cool. Also, how is parking there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by angelsil View Post
Devils game won't be too bad for pricing. It's not one of the teams that mob our barn.
Yeah, I assume the division games like Boston and Montreal are more, and now with all the drama between the Rangers and whatnot, those tickets for the 26th should be expensive.

I am going to the garden on the 17th, that is going to be a big game now since 3 Ex Rangers will be returning together who were all key players on the team.

Are they still giving out Pacifiers on the 26th?

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07-07-2014, 07:58 PM
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Hmmm...

Well, pregame party on the plaza.
Intermission party on the party deck outside.
Tesla coils.
Jumbotron.
Sticks of Fire.
Organ, organ bar.

I'm sure theres more i'm forgetting.

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07-07-2014, 09:56 PM
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Biggest thing I can say is the quality of the stadium. This is a world class hockey stadium sitting in downtown Tampa. The renovations were massive and expensive, but worth every penny IMO. There is no bad seat in the house, and tickets are pretty cheap, relative to other stadiums out there.

The Tesla coils are also a big part of the experience. It's something really unique that adds to the show.

Also, I really can't discount the fans. We have some of the nicer fans you will run into. Everyone will talk hockey with ya as long as you arent being obnoxious (cough, philly fans, cough). The Sticks of Fire bring a great atmosphere with them, and I hope they continue to grow.

As far as bars go... those are still on the weak side for Tampa, but if Channleside lives works out the way it is supposed to, that could change real fast.

I've been to about 25-30 games the last 2-3 years, and everyone has been a great, fun and positive experience.

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07-07-2014, 10:24 PM
  #24
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What is a Lightning game like... Well I'll start from the beginning to the end, hope this is what you're looking for...

Personally, I enjoy the 10minute commute from Riverview to Tampa on the Selmon, usually we leave around 6-6:15pm for a 7:00 or 7:30 game. I like to get there early to watch the warm ups and look at the silent auctions, etc.

Almost always I'm sitting in section 114 or 115 below row F (I just love being as close to the action as possible, and am willing to pay for it since this is what I love). Reason for 114 or 115, you've got a perfect view of the ice and the Bolts shoot twice - but more on that in a minute.

We drive in, head for the Channelside parking garage and park on the third level over towards the newer section of the garage, it's a shorter walk.

We go in through the NE entrance and it's always the same ole friendly faces who greet you. It really does make it a pleasurable experience when the staff actually remembers who you are. They might not know your name, but just knowing your face and asking how you've been really makes you feel at home.

I make a b-line for the concession stand in front of the world of beer booth. Sadly WoB doesn't have Molson Canadian, whereas the little cart in front of it does. Grab a beer, and head to the seats.

Getting there early is great for picture opportunities, even just walking around or meeting people in the seats next to you. We've got a press connection so if one of our favorite players is injured we'll walk by the lower level press booth and usually get to take a picture with the injured player. Last year got a few shots with Tom Pyatt when he broke his collarbone.

Anyways once the game starts and people are taking their seats is when the magic happens. The tesla coils rev up and you've literally got lightning bolts above your head. The organ is so loud and powerful it shakes every seat in the house (and the condos next door, I know cause I used to live in them). Then Thunderstuck by AC/DC starts playing and you know it's time to stand up and start cheering.

Out come the boys in blue and the place just erupts. What I really love is how we try to get military personnel from McDill for the national anthem and things like that. Along with all of our community heroes efforts, etc.

While I'm sure tons of teams do stuff just like this are their forums and arenas, this is our home and our family.

When the bolts score, the siren goes on, the jumbotron (and I really do mean jumbo) flashes like crazy, along with everything else --- it's home.

I can go on and on, but I'll leave something for everyone else to talk about.

Can't wait for the Playoffs this year, I've got a feeling we're going to be heading to the finals this go around.

P.S. I was at Game 7 in 2004, and HOLY CRAP did that place go nuts. I was only 11 or 12 at the time, but man oh man, that's an experience I'll never forget.

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07-08-2014, 08:03 AM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBLightning24 View Post
Outback Steakhouse stand sounds cool. Also, how is parking there?



Yeah, I assume the division games like Boston and Montreal are more, and now with all the drama between the Rangers and whatnot, those tickets for the 26th should be expensive.

I am going to the garden on the 17th, that is going to be a big game now since 3 Ex Rangers will be returning together who were all key players on the team.

Are they still giving out Pacifiers on the 26th?
You can find a spot in the Convention Center garage on Ashley St. with almost no problem. Costs $10 usually and is less than a 2 block walk to the Forum.

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