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WUSF's coverage of Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Feb. 7, 2021.

COVID-19 Squashed Anticipated Super Bowl Hotel Revenues

hotel exterior with Super Bowl banner
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
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Outside of The Marriott in downtown Tampa

In the greater Tampa Bay region, the COVID-19 pandemic held back the anticipated hotel boom around the big game.

Hoteliers and others in the hospitality industry were ready and waiting to welcome flocks of fans to town when the NFL awarded Tampa Super Bowl 55 back in 2017, but all of that changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.

STR provides market data for the hotel industry worldwide.

The company's director of custom forecasts Brad Reiter said hotel occupancy was around 50 percent in the region in the two weeks leading up to the championship game, before an increase came during the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Super Bowl weekend.

Reiter looked at a market area which includes parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties.

"But again, in that two week lead-up, there was definitely a big drop-off from what we would normally see for a Super Bowl," he said.

He compared hotel occupancy rates and revenue per available rooms for Super Bowl host cities since Dallas in 2011. With the exception of New York in 2014 and Miami last year, Reiter said every market saw revenue at a minimum triple — and, not counting those cities, as well as the San Francisco Bay area in 2016, every market at least quadrupled.

"Obviously, you know, COVID, has had a significant impact. But the fact that there was a Super Bowl at all, and the fact that you know, you did obviously have some degree of a boost in performance... I think that was that, you know, people would generally view that as a success," Reiter said.

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