Home Ice Advantage: Blackhawks Apparel Prohibited in Parts of Amalie Stadium

Rules directed towards away-team supporters in Tampa Bay Lightning’s Amalie Stadium have sparked controversy and raised First Amendment concerns for some. Fans in Amalie Stadium are prohibited from wearing away-team apparel in exclusive club seating areas. Those areas account for approximately 1,400 seats out of the arena’s 20,500 total. Also, in order to purchase tickets, fans must use a credit card associated with a Florida zip code.

Bill Wicket, executive vice president of communication for the Tampa Bay Lightning, commented on the restrictions: “[d]uring the playoff run, we’ve done everything we can to make Amalie Arena a great home environment for our team and our fans … we’re going to keep doing that and we hope people understand.”

With regard to the constitutionality of the apparel restrictions, Howard Wasserman, a law professor at Florida International University, opined “if [the ban] involves only a relatively small portion of the arena and only a relatively small part of the seats, it may be permissible. Certainly more so than a blanket ban on anyone wearing Blackhawks gear.”

After being down by a goal late in the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals 1:58 apart and held on for the win. Game 2 will take place in Tampa Bay on Saturday, June 6 at 7:15 p.m.

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