Step Inside: Tropicana Field – Home of the Tampa Bay Rays

Home of the Tampa Bay Rays

Tropicana Field, commonly known as “The Trop,” is located in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, and is home to MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays. It is one of the most uniquely-designed stadiums in Major League Baseball, as the catwalks on the ceiling can actually come into play during a game. The stadium has been around longer than the Tampa Bay Rays. It has served the St. Petersburg/Tampa area since 1990 — eight years before the Rays played their first game.

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Tropicana Field History

Tropicana Field was built between 1986 and 1990 and opened originally as the Florida Suncoast Dome. It has a recognizable slanted roof that was made to reduce cooling costs and help the structure remain safe in the case of a hurricane. The roof is not retractable, making it the only stadium in the league with a fixed roof. The interior concourse design was fashioned after the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ebbets Field. The Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League were the original tenants of the stadium and hosted games there from 1991 to 1996. It was also the original home of the Tampa Bay Lightning when they became an NHL franchise in 1993. The arena was then renamed to the ThunderDome while the Lightning called it home from 1993 to 1996. Tampa Bay was awarded an MLB franchise in 1995 and it was renamed Tropicana Field in 1996. The Lightning and Storm moved to downtown Tampa and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays became the tenants of the stadium.

Tropicana Field had a $70 million renovation done ahead of the 1998 debut season for the Devil Rays. The stadium has undergone multiple renovations over the years, including investing around $37 million since 2005 to make the food, beverage, and dining experiences better and providing updates to amenities throughout the ballpark, such as the new Team Store and Rays Brewhouse. The Rays have made it easier for fans to walk around the lower concourse by adding 360-degree circulation in 2013.

There have been plenty of other events held at Tropicana Field. It hosted the 1999 NCAA Final Four, an NCAA football bowl game from 2008 – 2017, and WWE utilized it for 2020 and 2021 to film many of its events during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also been used for concerts, including ones by Billy Joel, Sha Na Na, Rush, Guns N’ Roses, and more.

Parking and Admission at Tropicana Field

There are four general parking lots surrounding Tropicana Field and two premium parking lots. Lots 1 and 7 offer handicapped parking while Lots 1, 2, 5, and 6 offer prepaid parking that can be purchased until six hours before first pitch. For overflow parking, you can choose other lots or garages in downtown St. Petersburg. For those that want to take public transportation to the game, the SunRunner stops on the north side of Tropicana Field and runs every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and every 30 minutes from 8 p.m. to midnight. You can also opt for the Baseball Looper Trolley, which runs from two stops downtown to the stadium and is free. It starts 90 minutes before a game starts and runs every 10 minutes until an hour after a game ends.

Backpacks, coolers, and bags larger than 16” x 8” are not allowed in the stadium. Alcohol, weapons, lasers, bullhorns, cameras with lenses longer than 12”, and footwear with wheels are also prohibited.

Tropicana Field Capacity & Seating Options

Tropicana Field capacity is the smallest in MLB at 25,000 when the 300 level of the stadium is closed off by tarps, which is what the Rays began doing during the 2019 season. For seating options, there are plenty all around the ballpark on multiple levels. Sections 141 and 143 in left field are Randy Land, for left fielder Randy Arozarena. Every Friday home game, those tickets start at $56 and include a T-shirt.

The only section that doesn’t offer ticketed seating is the Budweiser Porch out in center field.

There are a variety of suite options located throughout Tropicana Field, including Outfield Suites, Infield Suites, and Executive Suites, as well as singular suites like the Legends of Tampa Bay Suite, Hooters Owl Den Suite, and more. These suites include VIP parking passes, up to 48 tickets, a flat screen TV,  and more. There are also two unique spots down the left field line, the Left Field Ledge and Patio Boxes, that offer complimentary snacks and beverages with purchase of seating in those areas.

What are the best seats at Tropicana Field?

The best seats at Tropicana Field vary depending on the event and personal preferences. Check out the Tropicana Field seating charts and find your favorite seat today.

Food & Beverage Options at Tropicana Field

There are food halls on the first and third base sides at Tropicana Field with a variety of stands. You can find typical ballpark food such as pretzels, Cracker Jacks, hot dogs, French Fries, and more at almost any stand in the park. A unique option is Crabby’s Beachside Bites, which offers meals like calamari, grouper cheek sliders, boneless tender baskets, and more. There are also many stands at the Budweiser Porch that serve all kinds of food, beers, cocktails, and more.

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