Lightning End Rule Restricting Fans from Wearing Opponents' Apparel in Premium Seats

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 28, 2021

The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate after eliminating the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

The Tampa Bay Lightning will no longer ban fans from wearing opposing teams' apparel in the premium seats at their home stadium, Amalie Arena.

The team relayed the information to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, who provided more information about the now-defunct policy:

"Starting in 2015, the Lightning instituted this ticket policy that prohibited any other team's gear in club seat areas. The team told ESPN that at full capacity, the policy impacted roughly six percent of the seats in the arena. With limited capacity due to COVID-19 protocols, the policy impacts around 10 percent of seats."

As Wyshynski reported, the policy change happened soon after a Florida Panthers fan and his 11-year-old son were asked by security to remove their Panthers jerseys while sitting in Amalie Arena premium seats during the Lightning's first-round playoff series win over their in-state rival. The Panthers fan recorded the incident, which can be seen below:

The Panthers fan in question said he was made aware of the policy before the game by a team representative, and the Lightning said that they clearly communicated the team's policy to fans who buy premium seats in advance, per Wyshynski.

However, that policy is now no longer in place, and the team issued this statement about it to John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times.

"After careful consideration the Lightning have elected to relax its visiting team apparel policy in the premium clubs for playoff games at Amalie Arena. The policy was originally instituted in 2015 at the request of our valued ticket holders in those areas, but we realize we have grown as an organization and as a hockey market since that time and it is no longer necessary."

The defending Stanley Cup Final champion Lightning will now play the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the NHL playoffs. Game 1 will take place in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday.

Tampa Bay, which will host Games 3 and 4 (and 6 if necessary), announced that the team will welcome 13,500 fans into Amelie Arena