Bayfront Center

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Coordinates: 27°45′59″N 82°37′55″W / 27.76639°N 82.63194°W / 27.76639; -82.63194

The Bayfront Center was an indoor arena in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States that hosted many concerts, sports, and other events, holding up to 7,500 people. It was built in 1965 and demolished in 2004.

The venue hosted the American Basketball Association's The Floridians when the team played in St. Petersburg. Prior to the Floridians the Bayfront Center Arena was home ice for the Suncoast Suns of the Eastern Hockey League and then Southern Hockey League from 1971 to 1973. The Tampa Bay Rowdies played nearly all of their indoor soccer games there throughout their existence, winning titles in 1976, 1979-80 and 1983. The Tampa Bay Thrillers of the Continental Basketball Association have an odd history with the arena. They played two non-consecutive seasons (1984-85 and 1986-87) there, winning the CBA title in 1985. They moved to Tampa the following year and won another title. Then returned to the Bayfront Center the next season. But due to an apparent rent/lease dispute, the franchise relocated to Rapid City, South Dakota at the end of that regular season, and still won that year's CBA title, for a most bizarre three-peat. The arena also hosted many wrestling and boxing cards, among them the WCW SuperBrawl in 1991 and 1996 and Slamboree in 1995. The vice-presidential candidate debate was held at the Bayfront Center in 1996.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, the Bayfront Center was as the location for Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey's annual spring TV taping. Up until 1992, every spring Ringling Brothers taped a network TV special from the arena and also shot all the photos for their programs there.

The Pinellas County Industrial and Aerospace Exhibition, featuring several NASA/Apollo displays was held at the venue from 1968 to 1971.[1]

The arena was demolished in 2004 to make way for an eventual replacement facility for the nearby Salvador Dali Museum.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Aerospace Exhibit Will Open Friday" (February 4, 1969) St. Petersburg Times, p. 4B