Should I get Outback Bowl tickets, and if so, how?

Submitted by Lordfoul on December 6th, 2017 at 8:46 AM

Hi all.  I have had a trip planned to the Tampa area for the week of New Years for a while now.  Low and behold, Michigan is coming down to visit too.  I am conflicted on whether or not to go.  

Why I'm on the fence:

  • Two years ago I skipped a chance to go to the Citrus Bowl while I was down there and had a memorable time doing cannon balls with my son into my aunt's pool after every Michigan TD.  This could be the plan again.
  • Heading to the Citrus Bowl was a much longer drive than the Outback Bowl would be, so I feel as though I should take advantage of my proximity to the game.
  • I have two kids that love them some Michigan Football, but are of an age that their attention will probably wane by the time halftime is over.  Also that makes 3 tickets to buy.
  • I fly in on the 31st, so I'd have to be on top of my game to pull off getting to the noon kickoff time the next day.  I'm not big on stress during vacation.
  • I attended both the Wisky game the The Game, so maybe it's best that I stay away.
  • I always love to watch my Wolverines in person, and it's great brainwashing for the kids.

So tell me what you think.  Anyone that has attended an Outback Bowl - how was the venue, parking, overall enjoyment level?  Anyone with insight on how best to score tickets as cheaply as possible?  

I am legitimately torn on this.



December 6th, 2017 at 8:52 AM ^

I went last time South Carolina and Michigan played since my wife is a South Carolina alum and we now live in the Columbia area (at the time we lived in Michigan).

It was fun but I wasn't too impressed with the Outback Bowl.  The pre-week activities were the best part: the pep rally on the beach and the parade in Ybor City but Raymond James Stadium is a dump.  It's very industrial park-ish around the stadium and the atmosphere was pretty lackluster (which you would expect for a bowl game but still wasn't great).  Tailgating scene was okay.

If I were you, I would consider going if you're going to be in the area but do NOT buy tickets yet.  The stadium was probably 80% full, if that, last time so you should be able to find some cheap options on StubHub the day of/day before the game.  I definitely wouldn't buy flights/spend a lot of money to go to it.


December 6th, 2017 at 11:02 AM ^

I've never gone to a bowl so I'm thinking it's tough to tailgate for a bowl game out of town.  I mean, don't you have to buy grilling equipment, plasticware, bowls, plates, serving utensels, coolers, tables, tents, not to mention finding a place to park?  If you're an out-of-towner, you're not bringing that stuff from home on the plane.


December 6th, 2017 at 9:18 AM ^

Bowl games, and unless you have a vehicle and are with a bunch of friends it's really hard to enjoy the tailgating experience. I went to a Rose bowl years ago and tailgated with the alumni Assoc, with a big group of people we knew and it was a blast. Not sure how this would work with younger kids, but it's all about what you expect and what a typical game day experience is like for you personally. I went to the Gator bowl with my wife and we just went to dinner and and had drinks before the game, and we had a great time. I never really enjoyed taking my son to a game until he was older (12 - 13), so I can't tell you how that would be. I like to watch the game, and with younger kids, that seem to never really be possible. It sounds like you should save the bank, and watch by the pool again. 


December 6th, 2017 at 10:59 AM ^

Were you at the 2010 (11) Gator Bowl against Mississippi State?  That was quite possibly the worst Michigan game ever. 


I actually live in Jacksonville now....but didn't at the time.  We had a good time enjoying NYE festivities along the river and the pre-game scene wasn't bad.  However, the game itself was atrocious (and now I hate cowbells).


December 6th, 2017 at 10:14 AM ^

I resorted to using height to try to tell the difference between Denard and Vincent Smith in the backfield.  (Sorry Vincent!)

i wasn't at the MSU game with the throwbacks, but I was at UTL I.  These jerseys were actually worse than UTL, since at least then you could see the numbers when the players were facing the other direction.


December 6th, 2017 at 3:43 PM ^

RayJay has enjoyed some great upgrades and it's hardly a dump. The area around it is less industrial than it is residential. The Yankees spring training facility is literally across the street. Lots of parking and space to tailgate. 

Haters 'gon hate I suppose


December 6th, 2017 at 9:16 AM ^

Nothing special about the venue. It's an NFL stadium with a pirates of the Caribbean thing going on. An objective read on your situation is that it sounds like cannon ball time.

Perkis-Size Me

December 6th, 2017 at 9:22 AM ^

As someone who was born and raised in Tampa and went to a ton of Bucs games over the course of his life, I can safely tell you that Raymond James Stadium and the surrounding area is NOTHING to write home about. 

Someone below wrote that the surrounding area and parking feels very industrial. That's because it is. You're surrounded by Dale Mabry Highway and old, somewhat rundown neighborhoods. The stadium itself is okay and they've made some upgrades in the last few years with new scoreboards, but there's nothing truly special about the place. There's also nowhere to walk to and enjoy a beer or two after the game like there is with Amalie Arena downtown.  Anywhere you'd want to go before or after the game (SoHo, Channelside, Ybor) is a drive unless you want to take a 40 minute walk to International Plaza. Also, this is not a huge primetime bowl game and it's not the playoffs so I would not expect much from the tailgating scene. 

But a Michigan game is a Michigan game, and it's the last one you'll get for nine months. So if you get an opportunity to go, I'd go. I also wouldn't buy right now. This game won't even come close to a sell-out, and you'll be able to get good tickets outside the stadium, day of, if you decide to wait that long. I'd tell you to wait at least a few weeks and see how the secondary market fluctuates before buying. 


December 6th, 2017 at 9:44 AM ^

Took the family down to see Denard's last game in 2013.   Had great seats (about the 35 yard line - 1/4 way up lower bowl - but damn is the surrounding area industrial.  Just trying to find a place to have a beer was a struggle and I parked what seemed like a 45 minute walk from the stadium.

I would go but I would recommend the following:

1. Wait to buy seats - this game will not sell out and prices should drop dramatically.

2. Eat/drink pre-game someplace else and dont expect to do so at stadium

3. Do as much Michigan tour-stuff as you can.  That was pretty fun


Perkis-Size Me

December 6th, 2017 at 10:42 AM ^

There really is nowhere to go to afterwards to enjoy a beer. Which makes no sense because you've also got Yankees Spring Traning right next door, and there's a lot of empty space across the street on Dale Mabry that's been unused forever. But I think the airport owns that land and they're not going to give it up. 

International Plaza has a good bar or two if you don't mind walking 40 minutes after the game and crossing a very busy Dale Mabry intersection. But nowhere around the stadium you can just fall into after the game a la Wrigleyville. 


Perkis-Size Me

December 6th, 2017 at 12:36 PM ^

30-40 minute walks down Dale Mabry are doable, but not convenient by any stretch. It's either a hellish 30-40 minute walk in Tampa humidity (which we both know is awful), or waiting 30-40 mins in your car to get a mile down the road. Also, for Brick House you've got to cross Dale Mabry, which is an adventure by itself. If you've got kids with you it's even worse. 

My whole point is that there is nothing to stumble into right across the street from Raymond James. Complete opposite from what you have with Amalie Arena downtown. I love what Jeff Vinik is doing with the area, like building up USF's Downtown Medical Center, and getting young people to move to that area. That kind of investment is something that Tampa has needed for years. I don't live in Tampa anymore, but I usually catch a Lightning game once or twice a year when I'm in town. The area is great now, and it's going to get even better in the next 3-5 years. 


December 6th, 2017 at 9:23 AM ^

Go it'll be fun.  Take the kids but get club level seats.  It's the wrong side of the stadium (I believe USC is the home team) but it's better for the kids and the shade hits around 1:20PM.  Big indoor area with lots of screens.


December 6th, 2017 at 9:50 AM ^

I will be at the game and hosting a tailgate, so yes, the game is worth going to...for me. I didn't make it to any games this year, so this is a great opportunity. But, since you went to at least a couple of games this season, I think that would likely be enough.


My $0.02 on what's been discussed here is the following:


The tailgate scene for Bucs games is awesome. For a noon kickoff on the 1st, it will likely be good, but not great. Find the friendly Michigan fans and hang. The area around the stadium does suck. Brickhouse Tavern is a very good sports bar and Cigar City is among the best breweries in the country, so if it's open that may be a good stop. Other options are chain drek like Lee Roy Selmon's, World of Beer, Miller's Ale House, etc. I honestly think you will be able to snag good seats for $50/ticket on Stubhub Xmas-New Years week. Maybe bring the kiddos for the first half and watch the second half with lunch nearby, or vice versa?


TL;DR - You don't need to stress yourself out over this game since you went to multiple regular season games. It will still be fun if you know what you're getting into and where to go. Don't buy expensive tickets.


December 6th, 2017 at 9:58 AM ^

My initial take is to not stress about the game, go down enjoy the pool and nice weather.  The only caveat would be if the OP has never been to a bowl game and considers it part of his bucket list- then it would be a good opportunity to check that off.  Whatever decision you make just enjoy yourself, you can't go wrong either way.

Everyone Murders

December 6th, 2017 at 10:07 AM ^

I just bought tickets off of Ticketmaster*.  Not great seats, but my elderly dad lives in that area (St. Pete), so I am taking my two sons to see the game with Grandpa.

This was really driven by the fact that I don't know how many more games my dad will be able to see, and it's right in his backyard.  I probably overpaid for tickets ($80 plus TM extortion fees), but it was important to me to get tickets all in a row, with easy viewing for my dad (upper deck Row B), and not deal with the stress of the secondary ticket market. 

If it was just me and the boys?  A whole different approach would be in order, with better seats off the secondary market as the game approaches, for less money.

The point being that these decisions are always driven by various factors.  Make a decision, and then don't spend too much time second-guessing it.

*The prices from TM were actually better than those on StubHub and Seat Geek.  I expect that to change over time, of course.


December 6th, 2017 at 1:15 PM ^

I would say go for it. I have enjoyed the games I attended (2008 and 2011) Debating going back again this year, but have spend several NYE in Tampa already, so looking at other options. Still, parking is pretty easy, people are nice, its a great environment overall. Also, Raymond James is obviously where the Bucs play, so they have the pirate ship and town facade in the stadium, your kids will be begging to go check it out (though its more for show, but still cool). They also generally have booths and things you can check out around the concourse. As such, I wouldn't worry much about your kids enjoyment/boredom (game might be over at the half anyway for that matter). 


December 6th, 2017 at 11:23 AM ^

I don't care if you go.  I feel the question is like th eone my wife asks as she getting ready to dress for work, date night, etc.  What should I wear?  I don't give one F#%k but I try to feign it.  for you, no feigning.  Just the reality.

Side story.  I had a business meeting with a Sparty alum.  (I know, it wasn't a pizza purchase.  some overcome).  He and five of his buddies from State go on an annual trip over the holidays with their familes.  Altogether there are 42 people in their group with kids.  They had committed to the Tampa area ahead of the "Decision".  Those D-Bags are going to the game and wearing red, 20 in all will be at the game.    Cocks rooting for the Gamecocks.  I hope the Michigan fanbase shows.