(ESPN)--The Tampa Bay Lightning will no longer enforce a policy that restricts fans from wearing gear supporting other NHL teams in their premium seating arenas, the team told ESPN on Friday.
The policy, which began in 2015, had come under renewed scrutiny after a Florida Panthers fan recorded a viral video that showed two Amalie Arena employees confronting him and his 11-year-old son. They spelled out the options under the policy, where the fans could "check in" their visiting team gear for non-logo shirts, could continue to wear the jersey in a relocated seat away from the club areas or could be issued a refund for the tickets.
One of the employees said "if we come back down here, we're getting [Tampa Bay police department] because this is our building policy."
The Lightning said that the policy is clearly stated when one purchases a ticket in their premium seating areas, and that the team communicates the ticket policy to every fan who purchases tickets there through email and by calling the ticket holders. In the video, the Panthers fan says that a team representative had called him before the game to discuss the policy.
Starting in 2015, the Lightning instituted this ticket policy that prohibited any other team's gear in club seat areas. The team told ESPN that at full capacity, the policy impacted roughly 6% of the seats in the arena. With limited capacity due to COVID-19 protocols, the policy impacts around 10% of seats.
This sudden non-enforcement simply confirms what we already know: the six-year-old "policy" is fucking stupid and doesn't belong in Tampa's arena.
And just to hammer it home again: this isn't specific to the Tampa Bay Lightning or Amalie Arena---Tampa just happened to have one of their hired goons recorded telling a father-and-son she was gonna summon police over a jersey. To be loud and clear, no team/building/owner/whoever should forbid fans from wearing their team's swag just because it's not the home team's gear. It's anti-fan, pro-soft, and just plain stupid.
So yeah, good on the Lightning for looking the other way. Now they and every other team with a similar policy needs to do away with them to prevent stupid shit like this from ever having to be blogged about again.
Well, in an ironic twist, it turns out it was whiny fans who spend a lot of money that requested the fucking thing in the first place...
That's even more reason to do away with it. Bunch of fucking spoiled babies crying about other fans supporting their team near you. Fuck outta here. Fill your own barn or suck it up.