Tampa Tallies: Boxoffice Landmarks From City’s Rich Entertainment History

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Tim Boyles / Getty Images / TAS

The enraptured crowd during Taylor Swift’s “The 1989 World Tour” stop at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 31, 2015. Her 2018 play there grossed more than $7 million.
Tampa’s super-sized live entertainment ventures throughout the years stretch beyond playing host to five Super Bowls. Pollstar’s archived Boxoffice data shines a light on many of the success stories that have historically impacted the city. Ticket sales data from events staged at the stadiums and arenas of Tampa provide a snapshot of the area’s vibrant past in live performing.
The largest venues in any market are usually the major league sports stadiums and, for Tampa, those facilities are Raymond James Stadium, home to the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tropicana Field with Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays as the tenant. Also located in the market are Al Lang Stadium, home of the Rowdies, Tampa Bay’s pro soccer team and George M. Steinbrenner Field, the New York Yankees’ home for spring training.
Among the stadium-sized grosses, Taylor Swift’s sold-out concert at Raymond James Stadium on Aug. 14, 2018 produced the highest gross ever reported for a Tampa venue with more than $7.2 million earned during her “Reputation” stadium tour. That performance sold 55,909 tickets, ranking it among the 10 highest for a single-show engagement on her 2018 trek.
At Tropicana Field, we have to look further back in time for the highest-grossing concert stored in the archives. The Backstreet Boys played the venue as part of their “Into the Millennium” tour, performing on Feb. 24, 2000. The show grossed just under $2 million at the time which, adjusted for inflation, jumps to about $3 million some 21 years later.
A handful of concerts have also been reported in past years at George M. Steinbrenner Field and Al Lang Stadium – the former hosting the “Carnivores” tour, a co-headlining jaunt featuring Linkin Park and Thirty Seconds to Mars with AFI on Aug. 9, 2014. With 14,929 tickets moved, the sold-out concert logged more than $1 million in sales. On April 18, 2019 at Al Lang Stadium, Santana played for a sellout crowd of 6,897, grossing $565,806.
Boxoffice records for live events that occurred at Tampa’s largest indoor arena, the 20,000-seat Amalie Arena, stretch back to November 1996, just two weeks after the facility, then called the Ice Palace, opened for business. However, the gross record there was set much more recently on Nov. 24, 2019 by Ariana Grande on her “Sweetener” world tour that ran from March through December that year. Her show’s gross topped $2.7 million from an attendance tally of 13,756.
At Yuengling Center, the University of South Florida’s 10,500-seat arena, the highest reported gross came from Elton John, a $906,665 take from a sellout crowd of 10,009 fans. The concert on Sept. 14, 2012 came during the final North American leg of his “Greatest Hits” tour that wrapped the following week.
Attendance records at Tampa stadiums and arenas are also part of the city’s live entertainment success story. U2 claims the highest sold ticket count for Raymond James Stadium with 72,688 at the band’s Oct. 9, 2009 performance during the “360” stadium tour. The aforementioned Backstreet Boys concert at Tropicana Field produced the ballpark’s top ticket count as well as the gross record. The group performed for 45,199 fans at that February 2000 event.
At Amalie Arena, Garth Brooks set the record for most tickets sold at a single concert engagement way back on Oct. 28-31, 1998. His ticket count reached 76,928 from four concerts. For the Yuengling Center, Neil Diamond set the attendance record at that arena, then known as the USF Sun Dome, 10 years earlier. He performed three shows in December of 1988, moving 33,016 tickets during the run.

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