All eyes are on Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII, and current and former members of the USF Board of Trustees (BOT) played a part in bringing the big game to the city.
Chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee and former BOT chairman Richard Beard presented the NFL with a proposal in 2005 and said he knew that afternoon that Tampa would host the 2009 Bowl.
To host the Super Bowl, a city must meet certain criteria. The NFL sent the Tampa committee a book outlining what it was looking for in a Super Bowl city, Beard said.
He said the book asked questions such as how many hotels were in the Tampa area and what types of transportation systems would be available.
Committees are formed several years before the Super Bowl because host cities need a group to make the pitch, USF spokesman Hoad said.
USF will benefit from the Super Bowl when it hosts a breakfast Saturday morning at the Sun Dome.
Hoad said the breakfast is normally hosted at a resort.
“That was a deliberate effort by the people who were involved to involve more students and involve the University as a whole,” Hoad said. “There’s some student organizations (working) as volunteers that work the breakfast at the Sun Dome.”
The NFL and Super Bowl committee often laud the economic benefits of the Super Bowl, but USF will not directly profit from it, Beard said.
“But there is an economic benefit to Tampa,” he said. “USF is a big part of that community.”
Though the NFL reports that cities may make millions of dollars hosting the Super Bowl, economics professor Philip Porter said that was “virtually impossible.”
While the Sun Dome may earn money from the breakfast event, he said, no one has ever been able to prove any definitive economic benefit generated by the Super Bowl.
Researchers look at factors such as income, hotel stays, air travel statistics and sales in the area tow determine the game’s economic boom to cities.
“No one’s ever found any obvious impact that the Super Bowl was (in any city),” he said.
Tampa may or may not benefit financially from the Super Bowl, but the city will profit in terms of national recognition.
“Hosting a Super Bowl, I think, does give you that sense that you’re enjoying the success of the city,” Hoad said. “Tampa and USF are similar in that they celebrate the success of each other together.”
Additional reporting by Hannah Feig and Kerry Klecic.