Tampa Bay Lightning Arena Won’t Allow Father and Son to Wear Opposing Team’s Jersey

Every parent remembers the time that they take their son or daughter to their first professional sporting event. It’s a moment that will be cherished forever between the parent and their child.

Children cherish the moments they can spend with their parents especially when going to a sporting event. On Wednesday night, a parent and his son went from a fun night out to off the ice drama.

Florida Panthers fan Brad Bargman and his 11-year-old son went to Amalie Arena for Game 6 of Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs. The Panthers were looking to avoid elimination at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Family Playoff Memories Given Game Misconduct?

Prior to the start of the game, Bargman and his son were in their seats when they were told to remove their jerseys. The father and son were wearing their Panthers jersey to support their favorite team.

Due to the rules of the Amalie Arena, when sitting in the lower section, you are not allowed to wear opposing teams jerseys.

Arena officials approached the two over wearing Panthers jerseys. Fans are not allowed to wear opposing teams jerseys in select sections of the arena.

According to the Amalie Arena policy: an invader into that 10 percent of the 20,500-seat arena is given four options when trying to check into these home-only sections: They’re allowed to check their unwelcoming gear at guest services to be picked up later and given an unbranded blue or black shirt to don for the night, they can go back to their hotel, change, and return to the arena thanks to a re-entry pass, they can get moved to a comparable seat with no attire restriction (and free of charge), or they can simply get a refund and leave the arena.

Bargman acknowledges the rule and stated he spoke with someone prior to the game. The two arena officials were firm to the rule.

The father and Amalie Arena officials agreed to disagree over the policy. Bargman posted a video to YouTube documenting his experience within the arena. The video ends with him being extremely unhappy but it’s unknown the outcome.

Rules are Rules

This isn’t the first time the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Amalie Arena have been in the news over their policy.

Back in 2015, the Lightning and Blackhawks played in the Stanley Cup. The Lightning put zip code restrictions on Blackhawk fans who attempted to buy tickets.

Tampa Bay has had this policy for years and do so to try and promote a “great home environment”. Lightning executive vice president of communication Bill Wickett commented back in 2015 on the policy.

“During the playoff run, we’ve done everything we can to make Amalie Arena a great home environment for our team and our fans,” Lightning executive vice president of communication Bill Wickett said. “We’re going to keep doing that and we hope people understand.”

Fans of opposing teams are irked by the policy regarding no opposing jerseys. Bargman and his son were no different but it’s the rules in place in Amalie Arena.

“Our home fans love it,” he said. “It’s successful because we sold every ticket to every playoff game we had and we had predominantly Lightning fans in the building.”


It’s unfortunate that the young child was not able to watch his Panthers play while wearing their jersey. However, while the rule will anger many fans, it’s part of the reason teams have home ice advantages.

The Tampa Bay sports scene has been on fire the last year with the Lightning and Buccaneers winning championships. Fans can argue that a real sports city wouldn’t put restrictions on what fans can wear in their arenas or stadiums. 

Imagine going to Yankee Stadium and being told as a Red Sox fan you couldn’t wear you’re Sox jersey? The rule is bush league but I also respect it because it irked an opposing fan.

This stuff doesn’t happen in New York, Boston or Los Angeles. Congratulations on potentially ruining a child’s experience with his dad at a sporting event. 

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– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)

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