There Will Be No Super Bowl Economic Impact In Tampa

There never seems to be much impact even in non-COVID-19 years.

The Super Bowl is coming to town, this year its Tampa, Florida and the old promise of pumping $300 million into the local economy. That will not happen this year because of COVID-19 and if you dig deep into that impact figure, it probably is considerably less as non-local hotels, motels, restaurants and car rental agencies send money from rate hikes because of the big event to some home office and Florida is not getting any sales tax from ticket sales or parking or stadium rent. There is no money going to non-hospitality businesses. The NFL-local municipalities deals are secret until someone leaks information because no one really wants to discuss the real economics of the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl makes money for NFL owners, takes money out of taxpayers’ pockets and host cities do lose money on the event. But the NFL will counter just think of how much global free publicity the game brings to your area.

The Tampa Super Bowl bid committee did not share this information with the public. What are taxpayers paying for the Big Game? The 23-year-old Tampa stadium underwent about $160 million worth of renovations and improvements, some of which was paid through the COVID-19 CARES Act last year, some part by Tampa and Florida taxpayers. In 2017, then-Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the Tampa City Council passed a resolution that promised to provide city services, from police to fire to landscaping, “at no cost to the NFL” and without any cap. Some of the perks given to the NFL include presidential suites at hotels for owners and outings at local golf courses. The stadium upgrades are just going to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ownership and that includes a lighting upgrade, a 5G technology system and improved field drainage. The NFL makes money, the community doesn’t.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his teammates after winning the NFC championship NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)