TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay is gearing up for a Super Bowl unlike any other with its hometown team.
This week signs are going up across downtown, lights are turning red and the city is welcoming the national spotlight and likely visitors for the historic moment, too.
“What other city has so many championship teams within one year? I’m proud to be able to showcase all the beautiful things that our Tampa Bay area has to offer,” said Karen Delgado.
She’s listed her property not far from the stadium for rent on Air BnB for Super Bowl weekend.
“I think that it’s important in this marketplace to be able to provide a safe and comfortable place for our visitors,” she said.
The impact of the hometown team playing on travel isn’t quite clear yet, though.
“It’s a whole different dynamic because obviously, we have people who live here who now are probably going to be very popular amongst their friends and relatives who want to come and be a part of that experience,” said Santiago Corrada, the president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay.
He said hotels will see an impact with NFL staff, executives and media staying in town, though predicting fan turnout is difficult.
“Since it is our hometown team, if you can support the tourism industry, you know, experience like you’re out of town, in town,” he said.
The experience is visible from the Riverwalk to the airport, with signs and merchandise ready.
Tampa International Airport says it expects to see about 30,000 arrivals per day the week before the game. That’s less than pre-pandemic daily averages, but still up from the 10,000 to 15,000 a day they’re seeing now.
“We obviously have less of an impact now that we only have one team that’s flying in instead of two. So that’s exciting news for the Tampa Bay region but it also means less visitors coming to the area but we do expect it to pick up,” said Emily Nipps, a spokesperson for the airport.
Nipps said they expect to see thousands of private jets coming into the area, more travelers from Kansas City, and more routes between there and Tampa.
She said they expect the Monday after the game to be their busiest day.