NFL to allow 22,000 fans at Super Bowl LV in Tampa

More fans means greater economic impact for Central Florida, expert says

ORLANDO, Fla. – The National Football League announced Friday that 22,000 fans will be allowed inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for the Super Bowl next month.

Among the 22,000 fans will be 7,500 health care workers vaccinated for the coronavirus. In a normal year, Raymond James Stadium can seat about 65,000 fans.

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“If you’re able to swing it, I want to personally invite each member of your team to be our guests at the Super Bowl,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a video call with employees at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports, knows what it takes to put on a big game during the pandemic. He spent last month hosting three college football bowl games, all operating with limited capacity, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

“Showing again another major event, another major sports property choosing Florida to safely conduct sports and entertainment is a huge deal,” he said. “All of us, the NFL included, have learned how to safely conduct major sports events. I think we all share that together and we all feel a lot more prepared than we did in April and June when we got our first taste in this.”

As with NFL games throughout the season, the Super Bowl will include mandatory wearing of masks, social distancing, touchless concession stands and controlled entry and exits. Thus far, about 1.2 million fans have attended 116 games during the NFL regular season and playoffs, Goodell said.

On top of that, Hogan told News 6 that fans at the Super Bowl will make an impact when it comes to Central Florida’s economy.

“Central Florida gets exposure when it’s in Tampa,” he added. “An event of that magnitude often needs to use hotels in Orange County to do corporate hospitality, staff hotel rooms. It’s a blessing in a lot of ways. When big events occur and there’s not enough inventory up and down the I-4 corridor, Orlando is a beautiful landing place, and in that fashion, we serve a role.”

The Super Bowl will kick off around 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 7. You can watch the Super Bowl on News 6, with coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m.

If Tampa Bay defeats Green Bay on Sunday, the Buccaneers will be the first team ever to play in a Super Bowl on their home field.