Major-league baseball fans were thrilled when the Tampa Bay Rays made it to the World Series against Philly in 2008. Although they lost, the games remain a hugely popular draw for sports fans flocking to Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg (tel. 727/825- 3250). Tickets range from as low as $10 to as high as in the hundreds, depending on how good their season is. In 2009, the Rays moved to a new spring- training facility in Port Charlotte.
New York Yankees fans can watch the Bronx Bombers during baseball's spring training, from mid-February to the end of March, at George Steinbrenner Field (tel. 813/879-2244 or 813/875-7753; www.steinbrennerfield.com), opposite Raymond James Stadium. This scaled-down replica of Yankee Stadium is the largest spring-training facility in Florida, with a 10,000-seat capacity. Tickets are $10 to $20. Season tickets range from $240 to $460. The club's minor-league team, the Tampa Yankees (same contact info), plays at Legends Field April through August.
National Football League fans can catch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the modern, 66,000-seat Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard (tel. 813/879-2827; www.buccaneers.com), August through December. Single-game tickets are very hard to come by, as they are usually sold out to the plethora of season-ticket holders. This is a huge football city!
The National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of the 2004 Stanley Cup, play in the St. Pete Times Forum starting in October (tel. 813/301-6500; www.tampabaylightning.com). You can usually get single-game tickets ($30-$349) on game day.
The only thoroughbred racetrack on Florida's west coast is Tampa Bay Downs, 11225 Racetrack Rd., Oldsmar (tel. 800/200-4434 in Florida, or 813/855-4401; www.tampadowns.com), home of the Tampa Bay Derby. Races are held from December to May ($2 general admission, $3 clubhouse), and the track presents simulcasts year-round. Call for post times.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.