St. Pete/Clearwater’s near-perfect weather and faithful local fanbase means year-round action for spectator sports fans.
The possibilities are endless: Catch the Rays (and whoever the visiting team might be) or the Rowdies (our beloved pro-soccer team) in St. Pete. Watch a pro golf tournament in Palm Harbor. And with huge events like the Firestone Grand Prix in spring, the Clearwater Offshore Nationals in the fall, and the Outback Bowl in winter, you’ve got a fantastic fanatic’s dream destination here, no matter the season.
The beloved Tampa Bay Rays play their scrappy brand of baseball at Tropicana Field, an air-conditioned dome in St. Pete that keeps fans comfortable and dry during hot summer days and soaking showers. The regular season stretches from April to September, with the thrilling post-season taking place in October. In 2020, the Rays made it all the way to the World Series. Kids love posing for photos with Raymond, the Rays’ goofy mascot, visiting with cownose rays in the touch tank and running the bases after Sunday home games.
Two Major League baseball teams hold their spring training games in the St. Pete/Clearwater area during March each year. The Philadelphia Phillies play at BayCare Park in Clearwater, and the Toronto Blue Jays play at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, just north of Clearwater. A little farther afield (pun intended), several teams prepare for Opening Day less than an hour away, including the New York Yankees (Tampa), Pittsburgh Pirates (Bradenton), Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota), Detroit Tigers (Lakeland) and Atlanta Braves (North Port). With careful planning, you can embark on a road trip from St. Pete to see all 15 Grapefruit League teams play across Florida.
Since 2010, the Tampa Bay Rowdies have played professional soccer in the USL Championship League. From March through October, they draw enthusiastic fans to the 7,500-seat Al Lang Stadium on the St. Pete bayfront. Join the green-and-yellow-clad Ralph’s Rowdies (named after the fictional footballer in the team’s logo) to cheer on the home team during fast-paced soccer matches.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play their preseason football games (August) and regular season home games (September to December) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, just half an hour from St. Pete. Cheer for Tom Brady, Mike Evans and the rest of the red, pewter and black as they fight to return to the Super Bowl, which they won twice – in 2003 and 2021.
Speaking of defending champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League also won it all in 2020 and again in 2021, bringing home hockey’s ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup, twice in a row and for the third time in team history. From January to May, the Lightning plays its exciting home games at Amalie Arena, across the bay from St. Pete. Want to catch a game without the fuss of driving and parking? Catch the Cross-Bay Ferry from downtown St. Pete – it drops you off just steps from where they play in downtown Tampa.
It should come as no surprise that Florida in general, and the St. Pete/Clearwater area specifically, is paradise for golfers. The ability to play year-round in a place famous for its sunny weather – plus the wide variety of courses – makes playing a round or two easy (though plenty challenging once you step up to the tee!). Take your pick from more than 50 courses ranging from the popular and budget-friendly Mangrove Bay municipal course to the fabulous courses at Innisbrook, where PGA TOUR golfers vie for championships. Brush up on your skills with a lesson from a pro and check out the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Pete, the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club in Belleair and the Dunedin Golf Club in Dunedin, among many others.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg roars into town every spring, with a total of 11 races run over three days on the bayfront streets of downtown St. Pete.
College football bowl season is a fun time of year. Each year, the region hosts the Outback Bowl, matching teams from the SEC and the Big Ten Conference (or the ACC).
The Valspar Championship, a PGA TOUR tournament, is played on the esteemed Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf and Spa Resort in Palm Harbor. Launched in 2000, the event attracts some of the biggest names in the sport.