TAMPA, Fla. (WISH) — Tampa is a city that knows how to put on major sporting events and to have its home team playing in the biggest game in football makes it even sweeter.
“It’s historic to think that it’s the very first time in the 55 editions of this incredible event for it to be the very first hometown team to play in it,” said Rob Higgins, President and CEO of the Tampa Super Bowl XVL Host Committee.
Sunday will be the fifth time the Super Bowl will invade Tampa and the city had some memorable moments on and off the field.
From Whitney Houston’s iconic singing of the National Anthem in 1991 during the Gulf War, to the Steelers dramatic Super Bowl win over the Cardinals in 2009.
“It’s just a great destination where everybody comes together to put on big events,” said Santiago C. Corrada, President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “Fifth Super Bowl. We’ve had the College Football Championship Game, we’ve had the Republican National Convention, we’ve had the International Indian Film Awards for the first time in the U.S. We know how to put on big events, and we have a footprint that really works well for it.”
But the good folks from Tampa, will have some challenges due to the pandemic. The Super Bowl usually brings a city over a $300 boost to the economy won’t be the case this year.
Only 22,000 fans will be in attendance on Sunday but 7,500 of those will be healthcare workers that the NFL is honoring with free admission to the game.
Safety is priority number one. Daily COVID-19 screenings occur before getting any access on site.
“Our locally-elected officials have been about safety, safety, safety the NFL is about safety, safety, safety,” Corrada said. “So, if you’re going to come here, you’re going to enjoy an NFL experience under extremely safe conditions, and I can tell you safety has been a priority for us.”