The confetti had barely been swept up after the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in Sunday’s Super Bowl 54 when the attention turned to next year’s game in Tampa.
“Raymond James Stadium and the Tampa community will be a wonderful place for Super Bowl 55,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a Monday press conference.
Our time is NOW!
— Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee (@TampaBayLV) February 3, 2020
It will be the sixth time Tampa has hosted the NFL Championship Game and the first since 2009.
A lot has changed since then - and even more changes are expected by kickoff Feb. 7, 2021.
Rob Higgins, CEO and President of the Super Bowl 55 Host Committee, said that one of the conditions under which Tampa became the host city was the $160 million renovation of Raymond James Stadium.
The project was partially funded by the Glazer family, the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who paid $130 million. The rest was covered by the Tampa Sports Authority, Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa.
The other large project is the construction of the new JW Marriott hotel in downtown Tampa. The $200 million-plus, 26-story hotel will be connected to the Marriott Water Street hotel.
“And that gives us a scenario where we've got a joint headquarters hotel with that in the Tampa Bay area, Water Street and the headquarters hotel for Super Bowl is a really critical piece too,” said Higgins.
Higgins said that the expenses are worth it.
“The fact that there's nearly 6,000 credentialed media that will come to our community and cover our community and broadcast back to every corner of the globe - that's promotion that's truly priceless and the stage that our community deserves to be on,” said Higgins.
But beyond the action on the field, and the many parties and celebrations that go with the Super Bowl, are the efforts that will benefit the Tampa Bay area.
“There's a social legacy initiative that we’ll unveil in the next couple months called Forever 55, which it’s a partnership between our host committee in the NFL, and it's a $2 million commitment to give back to our community to make sure that Super Bowl 55 has a great lasting legacy on our community,” said Higgins.
#TeamTampaBay, it’s our time! Together, we will shine on the brightest of stages! @nflcommish, thank you for the opportunity! We don’t take the opportunity of hosting the first Super Bowl for the next 100 years lightly. We’ll be ready! #TampaBayLVpic.twitter.com/UaQ3kbFTJW
— Rob Higgins (@RHiggins_TBSC) February 3, 2020
Before the Super Bowl arrives, other events such as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this March and WrestleMania 36 in April will invade Tampa.
While the aim is to make those events a success, Higgins said they will take what they learn and apply it to next year’s Super Bowl.
“We've got a pool of 10,000 community ambassadors ready to roll up their sleeves,” said Higgins. “You see this isn't a bunch of host cities. This is a host community. This isn't a host effort. This is a host movement and together between the NFL family and team Tampa Bay, we're going to come together like never before as one and deliver a truly incredible experience together.”