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NFL AM: Pro Bowl Moving To Orlando

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The NFL is calling a press conference to announce that the league is moving the Pro Bowl, their annual non-football, football event to Orlando for the next several years.

Here are the good things about the game moving to Central Florida:

  • There will be better marketing opportunities around the game with ESPN as the broadcast entity (owned by Disney) at the home of Disney World.
  • More fans will get the opportunity to go to the game and there won’t be any empty seats, as Orlando is a great place to visit.
  • The NFL and local travel brokers can build more realistic, more affordable vacation packages around the game.

With the good, there is also some bad.  Here are the negatives:

  • Even more players are going to back out of playing in the game.  If the league was having a tough time getting guys to take a free vacation to Hawaii, it will be even tougher to get them to come to Disney.
  • The island of Hawaii is really going to miss the Pro Bowl.  Hawaii is a football crazed place and the residents take great pride in having the game there.  It is the biggest event of the year on the island.
  • The Citrus Bowl isn’t a great venue, despite some recent renovations.  To be fair, it is a better stadium than Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

Suggestions:

  • Move the game around warm-weather NFL cities or domes or have it played in the Super Bowl city.
  • Instead of having a “low to no contact football game,” just present a bunch of skills competitions that people would like to actually see.
  • If you’re going to keep it as a “football game,” make it flag football.  That way the players don’t have to go through the charade of attempting to tackle.
  • Align the conferences once again for the teams.  It at least gives some of the fans a recognizable rooting interest.
  • Since it’s an exhibition in every sense of the word, have at least one player from each team represented in the game similar to the way Major League Baseball does.

Bucs Continue Naming Rights With Raymond James

From NFL Media:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Raymond James Financial today announced an extension to their current naming rights partnership that ensures Raymond James Stadium will remain the name of the team’s home field through the 2027 season. The arrangement marks the second such extension of the original naming rights agreement which began prior to the stadium’s debut in 1998 and extends the second-longest continuous active stadium naming rights partnership in the National Football League.

Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer stated: “It is rare in today’s business climate to form the type of long-lasting partnerships that can endure the test of time. By the end of this extension, our partnership with Raymond James Financial will have reached 30 years. That type of long-term approach has defined our relationship to this point and will serve as the foundation for the years to come.”

As part of the agreement, the Buccaneers and Raymond James Financial will continue their nearly two decades of joint community work focused on giving back to the Tampa Bay area through the highly successful Kicking for Kids and Sack Hunger programs. 2016 will mark the 17th season of the Kicking for Kids program which has raised more than $300,000 for local children’s hospitals based on $1,000 donations by Raymond James Financial for every successful field goal made by Buccaneers placekickers each season. The annual Sack Hunger collection events held before the Thanksgiving holiday each year have collected more than 140 tons of non-perishable food items for local area food banks dating back to 2000.

“Raymond James has enjoyed a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the time the stadium opened in 1998,” said Executive Chairman Tom James. “Two Super Bowls and a Buccaneer NFL championship 18 years later, we are proud to extend our partnership for another 12 years. Just as importantly, we are also excited to continue giving back to the Tampa Bay community through our combined efforts, including our legacy Kicking for Kids and Sack Hunger programs.”

Raymond James Stadium is currently undergoing a comprehensive, $100 million renovation which will be completed in multiple stages over the coming years. The first stage of construction will be completed in time for the start of the 2016 NFL season and includes an all new integrated sound system as well as new, larger state-of-the-art HD video boards and four HD tower video displays in each corner of the lower bowl. The new boards will provide more than 28,400 square feet of video display area—the third-largest in the NFL. Other improvements include HD ribbon boards in the center ring of the suite level fascia and the renovation of luxury suites.

Since its opening in 1998, Raymond James Stadium has played host to a number of world-class events, including Super Bowls XXXV (1/28/2001) and XLIII (2/1/2009), and on January 9, 2017, will be the site for the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.

ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in their 41st year as members of the National Football League and compete in the National Football Conference’s South Division. They were purchased by the late Malcolm Glazer in 1995 and are currently owned by the Glazer Family. Established in 1976, the Buccaneers have totaled six division championships, one conference championship and one Super Bowl Championship. The Buccaneers are also very active in the community, with the Glazer Family Foundation and Bucs Care dedicated to making a difference in the Tampa Bay area through programming that will inspire, equip and celebrate the “Champion” in each of us, highlighted by the Glazer Children’s Museum, opened in downtown Tampa in 2010. For more information, visit www.buccaneers.com.

ABOUT RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL, INC.

Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE: RJF) is a leading diversified financial services company providing private client group, capital markets, asset management, banking and other services to individuals, corporations and municipalities. The company has approximately 6,700 financial advisors serving in excess of 2.8 million client accounts in more than 2,700 locations throughout the United States, Canada and overseas. Total client assets are approximately $522 billion. Public since 1983, the firm has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 1986 under the symbol RJF. Additional information is available at www.raymondjames.com.

Tampa is a big city for financial services and Raymond James gives the team some additional financial security.  The stadium isn’t up to NFL standards right now and the improvements will certainly help.  That’s likely why they weren’t awarded one of the next five Super Bowls.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.