The NHL team began selling playoff tickets Friday, but is restricting its sales to residents of the state of Florida. Only purchases made with a credit card tied to a Florida address will be accepted.
The team is also prohibiting non-Lightning team attire in the Chase Club, a premium-seating area.
The idea is to create a more pro-Lightning crowd in an area that attracts many sunshine-seeking visitors from Canada and the northern United States during the winter and spring.
Games at Tampa's Amalie Arena can be heavy on fans of the visiting team, particularly when it's from a city a short flight away with a strong hockey fanbase — like Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Chicago, Boston, New York and Detroit, to name a few.
"We don't feel the need to apologize for doing our best to create a home atmosphere for our season ticket members and our team,'' Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett told the Tampa Tribune.
A similar plan was tried by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, who limited ticket sales to certain areas of the U.S. prior to hosting the 2014 NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. A Las Vegas man sued the Seahawks for $50 million US, though the case was dismissed and is now in the appeal stage.
Fans may be able to get around the Lightning's restriction by buying tickets on the secondary market, where the seller is not the team.