When Miami hosted the Super Bowl earlier this year, it was basically guaranteed a four-hour commercial for the city: every non-soccer shot featured its famous palm trees, sandy beaches and pristine blue sea.
The financial return on investment for hosting the Big Game is still contested by economists, but from a tourism and marketing perspective, having a city broadcast to 100 million viewers, let alone media appearances, is an undeniable asset during the weeks leading up to the game.
But the 2021 Super Bowl is likely to be very different as the pandemic continues to change everything we do. And while advertisers will continue to make their mark while it airs, the usual pomp and circumstance that comes with hosting it will likely be tiny compared to previous years. Tampa, which will host the Big Game this February, is on its way into the great unknown.
“The challenge we have with the Super Bowl is that there is still so much in the air,” said Patrick Harrison, CMO of Visit Tampa, the city’s target marketing organization. “It’s really difficult for us, from a marketing position, to say, ‘Come to the game and get your tickets’ and everything else when we don’t know when they’ll be available.”
Planning for an unusual large game
Ultimately, PwC analysts estimated that Miami was taking in $ 218 million in direct Super Bowl expenses, which ranged from hotel rooms to $ 18 mojitos. Other estimates range up to $ 500 million. With far less fanfare this year, Tampa won’t see any numbers at this stadium.
“We’re going to try to avoid any crowded scene,” Harrison said, adding that he expects the show to go “pretty smoothly”. The city has generally seen fewer crowds this year: in October, room nights in Tampa Bay were down 45% year over year.
The NFL Experience, a huge football theme park that the league hosts every year, is in the future, but this year it will be free and completely outdoors with time-stamped tickets. Last year it was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Adult tickets were $ 40. Harrison said capacity could be reduced to 30% to 50%, although there is still plenty of time to find out the exact details before the game.
“Health and safety determine every decision we make. This season we all had to remain flexible and adaptable, including the upcoming Super Bowl LV in Tampa, “the NFL said in a statement. “While we’re cutting down on select hospitality elements that traditionally take place during Super Bowl week, we’re committed to providing fans with a variety of ways to immerse themselves in the Super Bowl.”
While the pandemic dampened the 2021 Super Bowl, it didn’t stop Visit Tampa from spending more than ever on promoting the city.
The organization was able to use funds from both the Cares Act and its own funds on rainy days to reinvest in advertising, hoping to capitalize on frozen northerners who wanted to move south, either permanently or only moving for a weekend. The campaign is slated to run in the Midwest, Northeast and Tampa’s drive-to-market in Atlanta.
“This is the ultimate rainy day,” said Harrison. “If we don’t make every effort to make sure we have as many of them as possible [our partners] survive, then we have failed. “