Sure we’ve had a little thing like a pandemic raging for the last year almost now. From hockey to baseball and even the beloved NFL season, most of the sports seasons have looked a bit different this year. While many of us quarantined, socially distanced, and didn’t have a lot to do – watching our teams duke it out and provide entertainment, competition, and maybe a bit of a heart rush each week has been especially bittersweet here on the Suncoast. The Tampa Bay Rays made the World Series, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, and now our own Tampa Bay Buccaneers will duke it out today for the Super Bowl 55 title here on the gorgeous Suncoast. Not sure this feat of sporting headlines will ever be manageable again.
Super Bowl 55 by the Numbers
Tom Brady’s first year with Tampa Bay will see him start in his tenth Super Bowl appearance. That is an amazing feat in and of itself, but let’s break down a bit more of the amazing facts of this game being played later today. This will be the first time Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play in their home stadium for the Super Bowl, but the fifth time the big game will be hosted here in Tampa. Raymond James seats around 65,618 with expansion to fit 75,000 for games such as this. As we know, that is not possible to sardine in that many fans, so those in attendance have been shrunk due to Covid-19.
The number was cut in a third to 22,000 fans total allowed to be in attendance. In deference to the continuing pandemic, 7,500 of those granted access will be vaccinated health care workers. This drive to balance the fans’ safety has driven many a game through 2020 to be played to empty or nearly empty seating. Though Tampa was one city that did go back to the limited seating in October at these public spectacles, this reduction will be great for those in attendance but bad for the economy normally bolstered by this time-honored tradition of the Super Bowl once a year.
How the Numbers will Change this Year
Obviously, like so many numbers, the Super Bowl’s actual impact on a local economy is hotly debated. Some estimate the number in the triple-digit millions, with additional advertising, merchandise, and ticket sales to the NFL topping the total pull to a billion dollars. This year with many tickets being given away to the world’s morale and healthcare workers that have done so much on this pandemic’s front lines, sales of tickets are way down. Additionally, gathering places are restricted to the number of attendees, even for tailgate parties and viewing get-togethers. Finally, due to attendance restrictions, hotels, restaurants, and other local attractions that those from out of town would have frequented will not get a boost. That being said, this is one of the most anticipated events of 2021 and a sweet reminder of a sliver of normalcy we are all hoping to return to sometime soon.
There is still so much to look forward to in watching this year’s big game. Of course, there will still be the ads – if you haven’t seen Travolta and his daughter recreate his famous Grease dance moves, check it out! And there will be other ads in this time-honored tradition of going big on this most revered sporting day’s big screens in the modern age. Small social gatherings or crowd controlled tailgating options are popping up once again. Most importantly, we will see our home town team and captivate the world for just a moment in history as many of us sit raptly tuned in at home. Go Bucs, Go!
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