WWE has announced that they will be moving the ThunderDome from the Amway Center in Orlando to Tropicana Field beginning December 11th, 2020. Much like at the Amway Center, fans will not be allowed into the ThunderDome due to COVID-19 restrictions, and there is no word on how long the residency will last.
With that being said, let's look at 5 things you should know about the new home of the ThunderDome, Tropicana Field.
#5 Tropicana Field is home to the Tampa Bay Rays
If you don't know baseball, you may not know exactly what Tropicana Field is. Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, Tropicana Field opened in March of 1990 under the name of the Florida Suncoast Dome. The stadium didn't have a tenant until 1991 when the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arean Football League (AFL) made its debut.
In 1995, Tampa Bay was named as an expansion team for Major League Baseball (MLB), and in 1998, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays would hold their inaugural season. From 1998-2007, the Devil Rays finished dead last in the American League East in 9 of its first 10 seasons. The team went through somewhat of a rebranding, dropping the "Devil" from their name, and became simply the Tampa Bay Rays.
Since the name change, the Rays have seen much better results than in their first 10 years and even made it to the 2020 World Series, but lost to the eventual Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tropicana Field currently has a capacity of 42,735 but has had problems with fans not coming to the stadium. When fans are permitted back into MLB games, a recent World Series appearance should be enough to bring more fans to Tropicana Field.
#4 Tropicana Field was once named "The Thunderdome"
In 1990, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced it would be expanding its number of teams. Tampa Bay was granted an NHL team, and in 1992, the Tampa Bay Lightning played its first game in the NHL. Originally, the Lightning played their home games at Expo Hall in Tampa, but in 1993 they moved to the Florida Suncoast Dome (Tropicana Field) while their own stadium (Amalie Arena) was being built.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL and the Tampa Bay Storm of the AHL playing in the same stadium, the Florida Suncoast Dome was renamed "The Thunderdome". The Lightning actually did well with The Thunderdome being their home rink. In their home opener in 1993, the Lightning set an NHL attendance record when 27,227 fans saw the team lose to the Florida Panthers.
The Thunderdome set another record later that year when the Lightning played the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs and 25,945 fans attended Game 3. That record lasted just two days, where Game 4 drew 28,183 fans, a playoff attendance record that still stands today.