The biggest sporting event in Tampa Bay since 2004
In event weight, tonight is huge for Tampa Bay sports. We've hosted all sorts of title games and tournaments that don't involve the local teams / athletic stars, and while there are three major pro-sports franchises in Tampa Bay, only two have hosted their own championship series games here... Sorry, Bucs fans, but while competing for and winning the Lombardi Trophy is nice; San Diego surely isn't Tampa / St. Petersburg.
It's not the most weighted game in Tampa Bay pro sports history... That game is June 7th, 2004 when the Lightning hosted the Calgary Flames for game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. While no one is directly vying for the title tonight, that remains the creame-de-a-crème of local sports championship games in this town.
There are two events that are comparable in weight worth noting. One was not the league title on the line, but for the right to play for the title: Game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals in 2011. That one, the Lightning were the victors and forced a game 7 in Boston (which they ultimately dropped 1-0). Tonight's on-the-edge game is the biggest thing since that time.
The other game worth noting isn't hockey, it's Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays playing the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, it's only time it's vied for a World Series title. The first two games of that series, split with Philly, were played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Perhaps you can think up big games in-season for the local sports teams between June 2004 and now, but yoiu don't get much bigger than tonight.. Bigger is winning it all.
When a series can go as many as seven games, the weight of those Rays/Phillies games in St. Petersburg were less than what is at stake tonight. The series is even, there have already been four games. There's more urgency for both clubs and the weight of game 6, depending on the outcome of this one, affords tonight extra weight.