TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin their path to a Super Bowl repeat Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Eagles to start the NFL playoffs.
With the possibility of the Bucs hosting two playoff games, many more people could be spending money in Tampa.
Bucs and Eagles fans are converging on Tampa Bay for the playoffs this weekend.
“There were people on our plane that were coming down, from the Scranton area,” said James Boland from Pennsylvania.
Eagles fans flew from Philadelphia to Tampa to greet the players as they arrived at their downtown Tampa hotel this Saturday afternoon. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, more football fans feel comfortable traveling.
“Just came down to enjoy the nice warm weather, enjoy the game and spend some money,” Boland said.
Most of that money will be spent at hotels and local bars and restaurants. Eric Litchfield, the general manager of Harpoon Harry’s Crab House, says he’s expecting to meet and even exceed last year’s revenue.
“With Super Bowl being in Tampa it was crazy, especially towards the end of the championship playoffs. I expect nothing but the same this year,” Litchfield said.
Visit Tampa Bay is projecting hotel occupancy to be in the 90% range Saturday night but it’s not only people coming in from out town that are giving the local economy a boost.
“Playoffs just make everyone just want to go and do something away from home. I think just anything playoffs whether it’s hockey or baseball or football, especially in this area we just want to go out,” said Rodney Perry.
Visit Tampa Bay expects the first week of playoffs to bring in several million dollars into the economy, but they won’t have those actual figures until 10 days after the game.