2021 Super Bowl brings big economic potential to Tampa

Tampa will host the Super Bowl for the fifth time and organizers discussed Wednesday how the city has a lot more to offer in 2021.

The big game was last hosted in Tampa in 2009.

"So much has changed since 2009. Obviously [that includes] new hotels like the one we're in today, our Riverwalk, lots of new venues and attractions and restaurants," said Santiago Corrada, the president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay.

On Wednesday, Visit Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and developers with Strategic Property Partners shared what they are doing to make sure Tampa is ready for tourism, including taking lessons from high-profile events already in the books.

"We try to take what worked really well, and we try to make sure that each of them snowball," said Rob Higgins, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director.

The main attraction is at Raymond James Stadium for the game, but developers are working on what's around there, too.

"There's a lot of change that's progressing to revitalize and gentrify those areas," said Wyatt Krapf, of Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay. "We want to make sure it's done in a responsible manner but also that the areas that historically didn't have a lot going on now have a lot of activity surrounding it."

Tampa is also highlighting its downtown footprint, with the Riverwalk and upcoming hotels in the Water Street project.

"That's something that nobody can replicate anywhere else, and that's a big part of the backbone of the Super Bowl bid," said Higgins.

Corrada said it should bring in even more money than 2009.

"One hundred thirty business contracts were filled between the NFL and local business to almost $4 million worth of business," said Corrada.

Organizers said they want to make sure they create a look and feel here that will create lifetime memories for visitors. Even looking ahead to Wrestle Mania in April, they want to see what they can take from that experience for the Super Bowl.