If you’re a Pittsburgh Penguins fan with great seats to one of the Eastern Conference Final games in Tampa Bay this year, you may want to leave your Pens gear at home. The Lightning are not fond of your enemy colors, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has barred fans from wearing visiting team gear in select areas of Amalie Arena during the 2015-16 playoffs, including seats in the first two rows and other high-priced sections.
It’s an effort to increase the team’s home-ice advantage and fend off transplants who moved to Florida in search of sunny weather but never left their home team behind. The policies, according to the team’s website, bar any attire, apparel, clothing, accessories, flags, noisemakers and other gear “branded with the name, logo, or registered mark(s) of the then-current 2015-2016 playoff opponent of the Lightning” — in this case, the Penguins.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the team/arena imposed the same restrictions to opposing fans during their Stanley Cup run last season. It’s not so much about preserving home-ice advantage for the Lightning as it is about making sure the team’s fan base doesn’t look bad on TV. It’s not exactly a great look if a bunch of highly visible fans in your building are wearing the visiting team’s gear, especially during a late round playoffs series, so it makes sense why the team would try to prevent that from happening.
Then again, if I was a Penguins fan paying big bucks to watch my team from one of the best seats in the building, I probably wouldn’t be thrilled about being told I can’t wear their apparel. Fortunately, there are at least some workarounds. You could dress up as an actual penguin, The Penguin, or a pen. None of those are branded with the Penguins trademarks. Plus, you’d probably get on TV.
Or, if all else fails, just be an astronaut. Everybody loves astronauts.