- June 18, 2015
Lakewood Ranch resident and Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Dick Vitale normally predicts the outcome for college basketball games.
However, before a crowd of more than 230 business professionals July 19 at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, Vitale put his bets on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After talking with colleagues at ESPN, where Vitale has been a basketball sportscaster since 1979, he is confident the Bucs will find their groove.
"They'll go 10-6 and to the playoffs," he said. "Support the Bucs. They're going to be awesome, Baby, with a capital 'A.'"
Vitale and his wife, Lorraine, came to the Manatee Chamber of Commerce's "Lunch with the Bucs" event, where he encouraged attendees to get excited about the Buc's upcoming season — its first under new coaching staff.
During lunch, Buccaneers reporter Casey Phillips, who grew up watching Vitale on television, welcomed up Bucs' wide receiver Justin Watson, tight end Cameron Brate, COO Brian Ford and Chief Corporate Development and Brand Officer Atul Khosla for a panel discussion about the Bucs 2019-2020 season.
Guests also had a chance to earn Bucs memorabilia and tickets, get autographs and mingle with players.
Lakewood Ranch's Drew Lawson was one of them. He not only met an NFL player for the first time, but he also won a jersey autographed by Brate.
"I go to games all the time," he said. "I'll make sure to wear this at the Bud Light Deck."