Tampa Theatre

Thrilling Military Showcase Coming to Tampa Convention Center


Don't be alarmed if you hear explosions, simulated gunfire, and low-flying helicopters on Wednesday, May 8, near the Tampa Convention Center, as U.S. Special Operations Command hosts a thrilling capabilities demonstration from 12 P.M. to 1 P.M. 

The public is encouraged to attend and observe this rare display of military-tactical-might. A rehearsal of the event will take place a day earlier on Tuesday, May 7, starting at 12 P.M.

The "Battle of the Bay" is one of the most exciting parts of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Week annual conference. More than 170 United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and international service members from 10 nations will take part in mock scenario defending the City of Tampa from "hostile invaders." Helicopters, boats, drones, ATVs, scuba divers, and much more all be involved in the demo. This is as close to a real-life mission as it gets! 

Noise Advisory

A noise advisory will be in place for those in the downtown Tampa area surrounding the Tampa Convention Center. Those with sensitivity to loud noises may want to avoid the area. Wearing a form of hearing protection is also recommended for those in attendance.

Traffic Advisory

Traffic around the Convention Center will be affected both May 7 and May 8 from 11:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. South Franklin Street will be blocked off from Channelside Drive to the Westin Hotel and at the Water Street Intersection. During the closures, traffic should detour to Beneficial Drive. Attendees are advised that construction work is ongoing in front of the convention center and may affect travel times. Boat access to the Seddon Channel will also be restricted both days from 11:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. to participating Special Operations Teams only. 

Where to Watch

Helicopter during SOF Week demonstration

The best views of the demonstration are from higher vantage points including the Harbour Island Bridge. The demonstration will also be visible around the Convention Center, Riverwalk, and Bayshore Blvd. Viewing space is first come, first served and will fill up fast! Attendees are advised that construction work is ongoing in front of the convention center. 

The SOF Week conference is expected to draw more than 16,000 attendees and has an estimated economic impact of more than $12 million. The City of Tampa will present a public proclamation prior to the event on Wednesday, with participants available for interviews at the conclusion of the demonstration.

Television stations interested in parking at the Tampa Convention Center may contact USSOCOM Public Affairs at 813-826-8800, or SOCO_ALL@socom.mil. Media planning to attend the demo are asked to RSVP by email by 12 P.M. on May 6.