Tampa will be the host of the 2012 Republican National Convention. It will be Florida's first convention since both parties held their conventions in Miami Beach in 1972.
The convention will be held at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, home to the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. Here are some facts about the arena:
The St. Pete Times Forum encompasses 670,000 square feet with three decks and seven separate levels. The building is 133 feet 10 inches in height and 493 feet in diameter. It contains 3,400 tons of steel, 30,000 cubic yards of concrete and 70,000 square feet of glass. The innovative design of the St. Pete Times Forum provides for 19,758 seats for NHL games, 20,500 seats for Basketball games and up to 21,500 seats for concerts and center stage events....There are 80 luxury suites - 28 on the lower level and 52 on the upper level. There are 20 ticket windows and 22 concession stands. Meetings are easily accommodated through the availability of 4 meeting rooms.
The St. Pete Times Forum opened in 1996 as the Ice Palace. The arena was built as a new home for the Lightning to replace Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, which was then known as the Thunderdome. Upon the completion of the Ice Palace, both the Lightning and the Tampa Bay Storm, also a tenant of the Thunderdome, moved in.
In 2012, the St. Pete Times Forum will play host to the NCAA Hockey Frozen Four championship finals; this will be the first time the "Frozen Four" will be held outside the northern US since 1999, when the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage, held the event. The Frozen Four will be hosted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the nearest collegiate hockey team to Florida.
The Frozen Four and the GOP convention in the same year. Quite impressive. Here's a map of the arena and the surrounding area. Note the Tampa Convention Center on the left. There are a couple of hotels between, and lots of parking and other open space for the media. All in all, a relatively compact setup for the Republicans.
The DNC released the following statement right after the announcement was made:
"Obviously hosting such an event is a big deal for any city and we congratulate Tampa on being chosen to host the GOP convention," said [DNC Communications Director Brad] Woodhouse. "However, Republicans holding their convention in Florida only highlights the great strides Democrats have made there, how Republican rule in the state has moved Florida backwards and the disarray, scandal and infighting that characterizes the Republican Party of Florida today. And, as the policies pursued by President Obama and Democrats, including the Recovery Act, continue to create jobs and put Florida's economy back on the right track, Republicans will have to explain why they opposed these efforts that are now paying dividends for families and small businesses in Florida and across the country. While Florida is the epicenter of the civil war raging within the Republican Party, Democrats have a strong record in Florida, we have a strong case to make to voters and we will be there fighting for every vote."
Read more about the 2012 Republican Convention here