Ah, sporting events. Where fans from both sides can sit together, perhaps a little gentle ribbing along the way, enjoy a game, and part with newfound respect for the otherside.
Except not in Tampa. Nope. That would be bad.
We couldn’t possibly allow anything like that.
It wouldn’t make a good visual and maybe it might upset some of their season ticket holders.
What the heck is going on here?!
According to an article in The Washington Post, the Tampa Bay Lightning are restricting what logos fans can and cannot wear in certain areas of the arena. It’s not a new policy for the team, nor is it exclusive to them, but with the playoffs going on and Boston in town it’s now worth talking about. You may recall the Arizona Diamondbacks doing this to LA Dodgers fans in the past and of course in an episode of Seinfeld, because there was once a time in which the idea of a team doing something like would be so unbelievable it seemed only possible as a joke in a primetime comedy.
For fans sitting in Amalie Arena’s Lexus Lounge (which include some of the seats along the glass) as well as the Chase Club (so we’re really gonna sell the naming rights for everything, eh?), during the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Boston Bruins familiar black and yellow/gold is banned, as is anything featuring their “spoked B” emblem, and probably anything with a bear on it too.
“Fans wearing visiting team-branded apparel will be asked to remove such apparel while in these areas,” reads a message on the Lightning’s website according to The Post. If the fan refuses to do so they’ll be relocated to another section, hopefully behind a sign reading “Warning: Here Be Actual Sports Fans”.
More from The Washington Post:
The dress code is less an assault on sports ethics than a practical decision aimed at appeasing Lightning season ticket holders and ensuring television cameras capture optics that don’t embarrass the home team, said Bill Wickett, the team’s executive vice president of communications.
“We want to keep Amalie Arena blue for the playoffs,” Wickett said.
The areas where the policy is being enforced are in sections exclusive to season ticket holders but season ticket holders often choose to sell their big-game tickets at a massive profit on the secondary market. It allows those season ticket holders to make a little extra dough to help pay for the rest of their ticket package and many teams (not necessarily Tampa Bay) have deals with these sites that see them take a percentage of these secondary market sales. It also allows the out-of-towners get a chance to follow their team on the road and pour money into the local economy.
I can’t honestly see anything wrong with this. Everyone wins, right? Plus you get to chat with a fan of the visiting team if you so choose, giggle at their accent.
While I’ve done no research myself (eh, who’s got time for that?) I’ve got a feeling the vast majority of Tampa Bay Lightning fans think this idea is downright silly.
It seems that basically what the Lightning want most of all is a pretty photo on the Getty Images newswire that shows everyone wearing blue so they can print one out at poster size, get it mounted at Michaels perhaps, and hang it up in the reception area of their front offices, so they can point to it and brag about how hardcore and passionate their fans are the next time Bettman and crew are in town looking for a place to host the Draft.
It’s very authentic.
“Be the Thunder… or else!”