Sports Shorts

* “This town changed when we got an NFL franchise. People said, ‘Wait a minute, if they have an NFL franchise, there’s got to be something going on there.’ And when we got the Super Bowl, people understood that we were big enough to host the Republican Convention and any other event that came along.” That was Leonard Levy, who chaired the Tampa Bay committee that successfully pursued NFL membership in the 1970s. It’s a reminder that for areas such as this one—burgeoning with potential but hardly a major-market magnet—landing an NFL franchise can have a catalytic impact. It did. Such events transcend sports. Ask any economic-development fan.

* Remember the “ThunderDome?” It’s back. Sort of. “ThunderDome” is what Tropicana Field was known as—before baseball and after its original Florida Suncoast Dome appellation. The expansion Lightning used it between the Florida Fairgrounds debut home rink and what is now Amalie Arena. The current “ThunderDome” has nothing to do with hockey. It’s a marketing tool that highlights the venue now being used by the WWE through March for its wrestling showcase broadcasts and pay-per-view events.

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