Armed with gallons of gallon-size clear plastic bags to hand out, the Tampa Sports Authority hopes to get the word out on a new NFL policy tonight before Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans stray far from their cars. The Bucs open the preseason against the Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium, but those attending need to be mindful of what they tote their stuff in. Per league rules, only clear bags — 12 by 6 by 12 inches or smaller — and hand-size clutch purses are allowed. Stadium employees will be proactive tonight to make sure fans are inconvenienced as little as possible, said Bobby Silvest, the authority's vice president of marketing and communication. Workers will hand out fliers explaining the league policy as well as gallon-size clear bags at all lots and major crosswalks approaching the stadium, Silvest wrote in a email to TBO.com. Fans will also hear a prerecorded message on bullhorns regarding the policy at major crosswalks.
Parking lot personnel and law enforcement in lots will also inform fans of the change. Workers checking bags at a new secondary perimeter will also advise fans and offer legal bags. After the bag issues are dealt with, those entering the stadium will go through wand detectors, as in previous seasons. The NFL announced the bag limitations in May. Under the policy, fans will be allowed to carry no more than one approved clear bag and up to one clutch bag (not to exceed 4.5 by 6.5 inches). The policy appeared to work during its first test — albeit at a much smaller venue — before the Hall of Fame exhibition game Sunday in Canton, Ohio. There were no lines at the secondary perimeter checkpoints and reported delays were minimal at 22,300-seat Fawcett Stadium. Last month, the sports authority announced it was enforcing the policy for all events event at 65,000-seat Raymond James Stadium events, including Bucs and college football games. Fans may still carry usual items such as keys, wallets, make-up and cellphones in pockets, jackets or approved containers, such as the see-through logo bags mailed recently to Bucs season pass holders. The sports authority said previously forbidden items such as umbrellas, seat cushions, large cameras and binocular cases remain taboo. Such items will need to be kept in vehicles. Fans requiring medically necessary equipment should contact Maureen Myers with the sports authority at (813) 350-6508 regarding exceptions. Ticket-holders with such concerns tonight should go to auxiliary entrances next to gates A or C. Any fans with issues should text 33607 with the problem and location.