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Tampa in jeopardy of losing Super Bowl LV amid COVID-19 crisis

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The NFL will want to play it with fans. “They’ll play it in Montana if they have to.”

Co-chairman of the Super Bowl LV Hosting Committee Derrick Brooks holds up a helmet with the Hosting Committee logo at a press conference.
Tampa Bay Times

“This is another what-if that you can be sure the league will be thinking about by, say, October if Florida continues to be on fire with the virus: moving the Super Bowl.”

That’s what Peter King of NBC Sport’s Football Morning in America stated in his 10 Things I Think I Think. He started off by saying, “I think we’re probably eight weeks from any serious consideration about this next item. But the Super Bowl is 28 weeks away. That’s six months and a week till Super Bowl week.”

There is now serious doubt about Tampa hosting Super Bowl 55. With the Republican Convention already moved to North Carolina, and the high level of concern that numbers rise if fans are in attendance, there will be very little hesitation by the NFL to relocate the game given the financial impact the Super Bowl has, along with all of the events leading up to it.

There does seem to be some optimism. There are no signs of slowing down for the city and related committees. They are all pushing forward with full preparations with the expectation Tampa will continue to be the host city.

Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks is the co-chairman of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Hosting Committee. He continues to remain on course, focused on the task at hand.

Regardless of the $10.4 million in safety upgrades Raymond James Stadium is set to receive, the concern is the millions of visitors including players, coaches and staff, media, fans and entertainers and what they’ll be doing outside the stadium.

The influx in people will overwhelm airports, congest local store, restaurants and bars, and other areas across the bay. However, not allowing them to do so, Tampa would not be able to benefit from the economic stimulus it was hoping for by winning the bid.

Peter King said we have to understand [moving the location] could be in play if the area remains a hot spot.

....it’s something in a year with so much in flux that you have to understand it could be in play if, eight or nine weeks from now, Florida and Tampa-St. Petersburg in particular are hot spots.

Mayor Jane Castor, her staff, the Hosting Committee along with the NFL may have to come to terms that it will be too difficult to implement the policy enforcement that would be required to control the virus spreading if there is no vaccine.

Amidst players opting out across the league, Buccaneers rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn testing positive, and more recently the spike in positive cases with the Florida Marlins club, there is a real concern which these real issues will need to be factored into the final decision.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, spoke about it on the Ronnie & TKras Show on 95.3 WDAE:

The NFL is going to want to play it with fans. Whether that’s with complete attendance, who knows.

If Florida doesn’t change its trajectory right now, umm, I mean, you know, they’ll play it in Montana if they have to.