TAMPA, Fla. — It’s the week thousands of us have waited for: The count down to the Super Bowl is on.
The Super Bowl 55 Host Committee is busy analyzing every detail for the big game, from safety to security.
Unlike any other with a global pandemic, it’s a Super Bowl game forcing the host committee to make constant changes to keep both local and out-of-state fans safe. Yet, Tampa has a track record for dealing with unprecedented challenges. The last time we hosted the Super Bowl in 2009 was when America was dealing with a downturn in the economy. In 1991, Tampa hosted the big game during the Gulf War.
Despite the global pandemic, there’s still a lot of optimism, and Tampa Bay leaders tell ABC Action News they’re just grateful we’re able to host the game at all.
“This is a very different year. A pandemic and your hometown team in the Super Bowl. So we really have to see how that works out,” said Santiago Corrada with Visit Tampa Bay.
Derrick Brooks, the Super Bowl 55 Host Committee co-chair and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Hall of Famer, adds that Tampa Bay will win either way.
“I am most excited about our community gets a chance to win. We want the Bucs to win Super Bowl 55, but at the end of the day, our community is gonna win no matter who hoists the trophy,” he said.
Last year’s Super Bowl in Miami raked in a $572 million economic impact. This year, economists at the University of Central Florida estimate Tampa will bring in less than half that.
Tourism leaders spent the day Monday checking in on area hotels. Occupancy is now hovering around 53% for this week leading up to the Super Bowl. That compares to 86% around this time in 2009 when Tampa Bay last hosted the biggest game of the year.
And with the Bucs making history as the first team to play in their home stadium for the Super Bowl, that means most fans already live here in Tampa Bay and won’t need a hotel.
Super Bowl Host Committee leaders are promising a safe and fun event with mandatory mask zones and enforced social distancing throughout the week.