Mayors hope visibility of Tampa Bay during Super Bowl will bring long-term benefits

The mayors of the three largest Tampa Bay area cities spoke Monday about the regional impact of a historic home game Super Bowl. While all three celebrated as fans, they also admitted the event, limited by COVID-19, won’t bring the normal boom for the hospitality industry.

"That is the unfortunate side of things," said Mayor Frank Hibbard of Clearwater. "[Hotel rooms will] still be relatively full, but the restaurants and dinners that would ordinarily go on, won’t."

Normally, large parties would be catered for out of town visitors across the area.

"As we’ve had in the past, there were events that were indoors that were in St. Petersburg, at past Super Bowls, and obviously those aren’t happening this year," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

But others say because of the pandemic, it would be a down Super Bowl anyway.

What better time for the Bucs to make history at home?

Never have so many people in the Tampa Bay area wanted to watch a Super Bowl.

"We’re working with the NFL to try to provide a number of different venues where the game can be enjoyed in a safe fashion," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

They’re working on watch parties similar to ones held for the Stanley Cup and World Series. Local leaders hope the area will get long-term benefits from worldwide TV coverage, once the pandemic is over.

"People are going to be ready to travel and I want to be in the front of their head that Tampa Bay and Clearwater Beach is the place they want to spend their money," said Hibbard.