The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Tampa Bay's seeing two of its entertainment venues going in different directions: While the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa is gearing up to open with lots of big-ticket music acts, the Pinellas Expo Center in Pinellas Park is shutting down after only a couple of years of operation.

Strictly speaking, these two facilities are not comparable. The Ford Amphitheatre (briefly known, during its construction, as the Tampa Bay Amphitheatre before the Southern Ford Dealers came through with naming rights money) is built primarily for concert entertainment, with a 20,000-seat capacity ideal for such shows. The Pinellas Expo Center is designed for less glamorous fare like tradeshows and conferences, and, if it had to be used as a seating arena, probably is about half the capacity as the Amphitheatre. Each venues' bread-and-butter business is, at best, sideline business for the other.

Of course, this is all small potatoes as far as today's big public-facility news goes. That comes out of Noo Yawk, where the New York Jets unveiled their escape-from-the-Meadowlands plans for an impressive new stadium on Manhattan's West Side. Worthy of an Olympics in eight years, if not the J-E-T-S, nyets-nyets-nyets.