While Super Bowl LV will have fewer fans in attendance than years past due to the pandemic, local business owners eagerly await the surge in business on the imminent horizon.
Super Bowl weekend has arrived in the Tampa Bay area, and local businesses are gearing up to welcome football fanatics from all over.
For some, the big weekend couldn’t have come soon enough. Florida’s largest sector, despite diversification over the years, is still the tourism industry — an area of the economy especially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Maryann Ferenc is the co-owner of Mise en Place, a restaurant in Tampa. Between the shutdowns and capacity restrictions, she’s seen the pandemic put a dent in her business.
“It’s been tough. It’s been tough to be a small business,” Ferenc told Fox News. “I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve been in business for 34 years.”
But this weekend should change things for the better, as they’re already looking at strong dine-in turnout through Super Bowl Sunday.
Downtown Tampa decorated ahead of Super Bowl LV (Robert Sherman, Fox News).
The Tampa Bay chamber of commerce believes that the whole area is set to get a much-needed boost — between restaurants, bars, tourism and more.
“This is phenomenal,” Bob Rohrlack, the CEO of the Tampa Bay Chamber told Fox News. “The fact that we’ve got this going on as we turn to another year, the Super Bowl is here. How many communities get to say that? Not many, and it’s here.”
While it has been a big year for sports in Tampa Bay, many small businesses have missed out on reaping all the benefits.
The Tampa Bay Rays made it all the way to the World Series, but all the games were played in Texas. The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, but up in Canada.
One year ago, Super Bowl LIV in Miami pumped about $570 million into the local economy, according to the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee.
With this year’s Super Bowl having capacity restricted to less than 25,000 and fewer people as a result expected to travel due to the Buccaneers both hosting and playing in the game, the economic impact is not expected to be as big.
Super Bowl LIV in Miami pumped over $500 million into the South Florida economy last year (Robert Sherman, Fox News)
Rohrlack said it’s hard to put a projected dollar amount on this year’s game because so many variables have changed due to the pandemic. But, he contends it will still be significant, especially since so many small businesses have been severely impacted over the last year.
“We have a scaled-down super bowl coming to Tampa Bay. That’s a whole lot better than no Super Bowl at all,” said Rohrlack. “So, the benefits of this scaled-down Super Bowl are still tremendous.”
Rohrlack adds that the value of having the Tampa Bay area into the national spotlight can’t be understated, and expects many of those dividends to be seen in the long run, once the pandemic passes.
For Ferenc, she’s excited for the business coming to her doorstep. While she acknowledges that the big game could have had a greater impact, she thinks having the Super Bowl in town will make a difference financially and help bring the whole community together.
“We can talk about the economic impact that could have been, but, it’s all eyes on us, and boy, that feels good,” said Ferenc. “It’s all about Tampa Bay.”