Sports Venues in the Tampa Bay Area
Major League Baseball is uniquely available in Florida through what is commonly called the Grapefruit League, or spring training. The Pittsburgh Pirates are located at Manatee County's McKechnie Field, while the Cincinnati Reds train in Sarasota. Even the New York Yankees are just an hour away in Tampa and the Boston Red Sox are in FT. Myers to the South.
College football rivalries are a huge sports tradition in all of Florida. The USF Bulldogs are located in Tampa. The University of Florida's Gators are about 2 hours away, while the Seminoles of Florida State University and the University of Miami are a bit farther away.
Of course, only one hour north of Manatee County is Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL 2002 Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If you are interested in auto racing, the DeSoto Speedway in Manatee County is for you. Called the "South's Fastest Short Track," it's paved 3/8 mile, high banked oval track is often host to stock car racing and drag racing.
You won't miss ice hockey just because Florida doesn't have any natural ice. Manatee County is home to J.P. Igloo, a world-class training facility, with amateur ice hockey leagues that you can join.
If you prefer to watch, then the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL is for you. The team plays a short drive away in the St. Pete Times forum, a venue for popular national concert tours, and also the home of Arena Football's Five-time World Champion Tampa Bay Storm.