Why do they call it that? Who is Raymond James Stadium and history of Tampa Bay Buccaneers team name

6:10 AM, Aug 18, 2010   |    comments
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Who is the Raymond James behind Raymond James Stadium? And the story of how USF almost picked the team name Buccaneers years before the pro football Buccaneers came to Tampa Bay.

Why do they call it Raymond James Stadium

Raymond James Financial is a big big money management company based in St. Petersburg.

It pays just more than $3 million a year in a naming rights deal to put its logo on the home of the Bucs.

But who is Raymond James?

The correct question is: who are Raymond James?

Edward Raymond and Robert James merged their two financial firms in 1964. The combined company, Raymond James Financial, is now an investment management powerhouse.

The Bucs moved into Ray Jay in 1998, but for their first 22 years, home was the Big Sombrero.

Rodney Kite-Powell, curator of history at the Tampa Bay History Center, explains the nickname.

"Chris Berman, who was an ESPN analyst... looked at the shape of Tampa Stadium and thought it looked like a sombrero, so he started calling us the Big Sombrero," Kite-Powell said.

The Big Sombrero's official name was Tampa Stadium -- up until 1995.

"When the Glazers purchased the Buccaneers" in 1995, Kite-Powell said, "they owned a restaurant chain called Houlihan's."

"And so, briefly, the Big Sombrero was no longer officially Tampa Stadium. It was Houlihan's Stadium. Which was strange, because there were no Houlihan's in the Tampa Bay area."

Why do they call them the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Raymond James Stadium is home to two football teams: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the University of South Florida -- Buccaneers?

In the early days of USF, long before an NFL team came to Tampa Bay, the university held a vote to pick a team name.

Buccaneers got the most votes, so it was settled: they'd be the USF Buccaneers.

But some students didn't like it, and in a re-vote, Buccaneers lost to Golden Brahmans -- a type of cattle.

The USF Golden Brahmans was simplified to the USF Bulls in the 1980's.

Tampa Bay landed its NFL expansion team in 1974, and by the first kickoff in 1976, the professional football team had picked Buccaneers as its new name.

Buccaneers was chosen from dozens of suggestions in a public name-the-team contest.

But -- shhh -- here's a secret: the story goes that the new pro team's owners already had Buccaneers in mind. They were just waiting for someone to enter it in the contest so they could pick it.

Why do they call it that? Now you know.

There are a lot more places out there with names that could use explaining. If you want to ask "Why do they call it that?" send an e-mail with a name that has you curious to Grayson Kamm using this link.

We'll be featuring new places and stories each Wednesday on 10 News. Watch them on The Morning Show from 5-7 a.m. and on 10 News at 5:30 p.m.

Check out previous editions of "Why do they call it that?" plus links to photos and maps from Tampa Bay's past at our "Why do they call it that?" website: wtsp.com/callitthat.

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Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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