Super Bowl beneficial to host city

The teams came and went, the big game is over and all the commotion has slowed — but Tampa has more than just memories of Super Bowl XLIII.

For the fourth time, Tampa underwent numerous changes to become the host city for the Super Bowl. Residents who noticed all the hoopla around town may have wondered:  “What does the Super Bowl do for me?”

The city of Tampa has spent what seems like tons of money on Super Bowl preparations, but in turn, the NFL has provided its host city with numerous charitable contributions and has taken extra care to be environmentally friendly.

As of Jan. 27, Tampa spent nearly $650,000 of the projected $1-million budget for pre-game preparations, said Santiago Corrada, neighborhood services administrator for the city of Tampa. She said the money went to providing a safe and attractive environment.

Corrada also said the city has been creative and efficient in its approach to spending the money, especially when it comes to salaries for city workers and officials.

“Instead of having transportation, police, and fire and emergency management workers go into overtime because of Super Bowl events, we have tried rearranging their schedules whenever possible,” she said.

Instead of a police officer working his or her usual shift plus a Super Bowl event, the event took the place of the normal shift, when possible. The city found this technique useful for staying within its Super Bowl budget.   

“The majority of the funds go to making the international event safe and secure for residents and the 100 thousand-plus visitors,” Corrada said.  “Much of what is spent on beautification — the sprucing up of the Tampa area — will be reimbursed by the Florida Department of Transportation.”

Dale Mabry Highway got a makeover in the weeks before the game. City workers were hard at work repaving the highway and planting new foliage in the medians and along sidewalks.

But the city wasn’t the only one funding the beautification process — the NFL’s Super Bowl Environmental Program was also involved. The program, which is supported by local organizations, conducted numerous tree plantings throughout the host city. 

At least a dozen plantings were completed — ranging from smaller plantings in the downtown area to mass plantings in “environmentally sensitive management areas.” The purpose of these plantings is to offset excess greenhouse gases caused by the Super Bowl.

The NFL took steps to incorporate solid waste recycling throughout all of the Super Bowl event grounds. Recycling is an important initiative, considering the amount of trash such a large event can produce.

Another way the NFL contributes to its host city is through charitable events, such as the Taste of the NFL. The annual event features cuisine from top chefs from each of the 31 NFL cities. Tickets to the event benefit each NFL city’s Feeding America food bank network. This year, particular emphasis is placed on America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay. 

The NFL also hosted the Habitat for Humanity Superbuild 2009. Twenty homes were built in the weeks before the Super Bowl, and one home was awarded to a Habitat affiliate in the home state of the winning team.

Hosting the Super Bowl is expensive for a city, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

“The Super Bowl is internationally televised, and all the big broadcast news networks cover it,” Corrada said. “You can’t put a value on that kind of exposure.”

Business prospered in Tampa during the week of the Bowl, and expectations for the rest of the year are high.

The Super Bowl is essentially a media showcase of its host city. During the game, commercials aired that showed the Tampa skyline. Viewers saw the business scene, the beautiful beaches, the palm trees, the nightlife — and they wanted to be here. Tourism is the biggest economy-boosting industry, and the Super Bowl gave Tampa its chance to shine as a destination city. 
 Sarah Torrens is a junior majoring in mass communications.