NFL Experience opens in Tampa ahead of season kickoff between Bucs and Cowboys


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick off the 2021 NFL season at home in Tampa on Thursday in a game that will be broadcast on News Channel 8, your Official Bucs Station.

This year’s kickoff is set to be a celebration, and what better way to celebrate than to have a party?

The NFL Experience has returned to Tampa and the good news is that everyone is welcome at Julian B. Lane Park for the festivities on Thursday, Sept. 9.

So if you missed the party back in January and February when the NFL Experience was in town for the Super Bowl, have no fear. The event is full of experiences to enjoy.

If you did visit the NFL Experience earlier this year, you’re still urged to come back and check out what’s new.

“This is a very different event, so we don’t want you to feel like you were here already, saw it, came through – we really want you to come down again,” Senior Director of NFL Events Nicki Ewell said.

You can test your skills at the 40-yard dash, the touch pass and, a crowd favorite, the field goal kick.

New this year, you can also get free autographs from NFL legends. The Lombardi Trophy will be there as well as the full set of all 55 Super Bowl rings, including the Bucs’ latest ring.

Don’t forget to pick up some Bucs swag at the experience – the oversized NFL helmets make a return as well.

There’s a super-sized stage too, where you’ll likely find a super star musician.

“The day will be headlined by the one and only Ed Sheeran at 7 p.m.” Senior Director of NFL Events Katie Keenan said.

Sheeran and the FAMU Marching Band, as well as local artists, will be on hand for the event.

Even better, the party goes on through game time.

“You’re encouraged to bring chairs, come down, hang out sit and watch the game with us and watch the Bucs hopefully win,” Ewell said.

Expect tens of thousands of fans to be there, so you’ll want to get there early.

“It’s really about celebrating the Buccaneers, celebrating their championship, turning the page over to the 20201 season and celebrating very safely,” Ewell said.


This is a “rain or shine” event.

You’ll need to download the NFL OnePass app from the App Store or Google Play. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can register at the gates.

Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no mask mandate, but it is recommended you wear a mask if you are not vaccinated or are under the age of 12.


  • 12 p.m. ET: Gates open to the public
  • 7 p.m. ET: Ed Sheeran Performance on Kickoff Stage
  • 2021 NFL Kickoff Watch Party presented by Bud Light: Active through the conclusion of the Cowboys-Buccaneers game

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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