One of the stories of the Lightning's run in the 2015 NHL Playoffs so far that has received mostly local attention when any attention at all came to it, has been the watch parties taking place at Channelside Bay Plaza during Lightning away games. The plaza, just east of Amalie Arena, is an outdoor entertainment and retail mall that's known mostly for the fact it's been largely vacant for years. It is now owned and controlled by team owner Jeff Vinik. Watch parties in the previous rounds had the venue packed with fans who brought lawn chairs or other forms of seating to watch the game with other Lightning fans. It turned into a standing room only affair.
With the final series of the playoffs - the Bolts versus the Chicago Blackhawks - underway, the finale in the quest for Lord Stanley's Cup, and knowing that there will likely be more fans turning out to participate in the watch parties, the Lightning will be changing venues for games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Unveiled via WFLA, instead of the next watch party taking place at Channelside Bay Plaza, it will be held at the more public Curtis Hixon Park on the edge of the Hillsborough River in central downtown Tampa. Bud Lite and WFLA are sponsoring the event with Newschannel 8 newscasts set to take part in the park for at least Gmae 3.
Should a Game 6 be necessary, that watch party would be held within Amalie Arena to accommodate the expected crowd -- so fans inside would get to watch the game in their home rink on Amalie's famous 28 foot by 50 foot Daktronics video board.
For those fans currently enjoying home games broadcast and projected on the wall of the South Regional Garage, that will continue. However, overflow crowds will be redirected to nearby Cotanchobee Fort Brooke park, directly south of the arena, which will be equipped with a big screen as well.