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|| News Item: Posted 1998-12-05

NFL Stadium Report
Tampa Bay

By Gary Bogdon, Orlando Sentinel

Tampa Bay has a new stadium this year, sitting right next to the old stadium, which will be torn down at some point. A few observations, after covering both of their home games there this year.

The stadium itself, (from just a general point of view) is super nice. Lots of room on the sidelines, an unreal sound system, and a really cool pirate ship in one of the endzones, (although when they fire the cannons, it can be rather nerve shattering) It's a really state of the art facility.

Have not had any problems,(crossing fingers) with the new NFL Sideline rule, and have not missed a photo because of it. But that might be a good excuse to use when I do miss a picture... You know.... Sports desk jockey says: "Hey do you have the Warrick Dunn flying through the air touchdown?"... and I say.... "Well, I would have, if it wasn't for that damn new sideline rule, damn those NFL TV idiots!" .... Seriously, no problems here, yet.

Parking, at least OUR media parking, is the best in years. You park in lot 5, which is grass, (sometimes muddy, if it is raining) but it is right next to Gate D were the media entrance is. And you can just park, and put all of your gear on your cart and roll it on in.

Food: Sucks, your basic diet of Death Dogs, and all of the soda, (they do have bottled water though) you can punish yourself with. I always eat a good meal, (Highly rec. the lunch buffet at Buddy Freddy's, in Plant City, exit 11, off of I-4, which is between Orlando and Tampa.) I swear I can pull into the parking lot at B. Freddy's, eat, and be out of the door in 20 minutes, and so full I could pop. Then I avoid the death dog scenario.

Darkrooms: For those of you who are transmitting on deadlines for newspapers, wires, etc... There are two basic darkrooms, just off of the field through the South endzone tunnel. One is set up for Associated. Press, with AP-Tampa staffer Chris O'Meara running the show, with a hand full of stringers. Great guy to work with, as long as you go through the proper channels, if you need them to process your film. The do film at the games, and very little digital.

The other darkroom (right next to AP's) is split into to small darkrooms, with an open working area, that local paper's etc.. as well as the other wires (Reuters, etc.) use to process and transmit. One of these is set up for Reuters, (Joe Skipper is the staffer in Orlando who runs the show), and the other supposed to be a community darkroom, for anyone visiting and needing space to process film, (ie: Allsport, other papers, etc.)

The first game in the stadium, against the Chicago Bears, (two weeks ago) a Chicago Tribune staffer did get some gear (F4,and an 80-200 new zoom) stolen from leaving it on a table, (anyone could have taken it from here) covered up with a jacket outside of the AP darkroom. An expensive (but at least it wasn't a digital camera) lesson. Don't leave your stuff around unwatched.

Two observations from last night's game: Saw a P.W. (photo weenie) at last night's game against NY Giants. I am not joking... He was sitting in the endzone with a Pentax camera, and a 100mm (or maybe it wasn't quite that long of glass) on a TRIPOD. I couldn't believe it. Someone pointed him out to the Bucs team photog, Robbie Rogers (formerly of the St. Pete Times) and he was enlightened!

Also the Florida State Troopers, seem to suffer from what I call the Barney Fife syndrome. You know, that gotta let you know, where you can stand, who is supposed to be here, etc... I just about got into with one, until his supervisor came over and pulled his chain a little. Use some caution with them. You know what they say about jails in the South.

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