The Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee and the National Football League will make a $2 million investment that the organizations say will leave a lasting impact on the community long after the championship football game is played.
The initiative, dubbed Forever 55, will have six pillars, or areas of concentration, including a focus on ending systemic injustice, said Derrick Brooks, Hall of Fame linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and co-chair of the Host Committee.
“The Host Committee will launch their game plan, Tampa Bay Resolve, in the upcoming months. Tampa Bay Resolve isn’t just a written statement. It’s an action plan to help work to eliminate systemic injustice and structural racism. Along with the NFL, we are committed to playing an active role in inspiring and creating significant change,” Brooks said.
Other pillars are early childhood education, food insecurity, underserved families, health and wellness, and sustainability.
The NFL and Host Committee unveiled Forever 55 during an online news conference Tuesday morning. Leaders also announced that Super Bowl Experience Presented by Lowe’s – an interactive football “theme park” — will be free and completely outdoors for the first time in the history of the event. Additionally, they introduced two new corporate partners, Ashley HomeStore, a furniture retailer with corporate retail headquarters in Ybor City, and ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity firm.
Super Bowl LV is set to be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Feb. 7, 2021. All those at the news conference said they were confident the game would take place as scheduled, with safety protocols to guard against the spread of Covid-19. It’s the fifth Super Bowl that will be hosted in Tampa. Tampa last hosted a Super Bowl 11 years ago.
“The Super Bowl gives our community the chance to show the world how much Tampa Bay has changed since 2009,” said Bryan Glazer, owner and co-chairman of the Bucs. He cited the St. Pete Pier, as well as Armature Works, Water Street Tampa and the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, which will be the location for the Super Bowl Experience.
The Super Bowl will have a positive economic impact on the Tampa Bay community, said Ken Jones with Ashley HomeStore. The retailer plans private events to showcase the area at the Super Bowl Experience.
ReliaQuest is excited to show the rest of the world that Tampa Bay is a great place to build a company, said Brian Murphy, CEO. ReliaQuest will be the official cybersecurity partner of the Host Committee.
Business support is crucial for any large-scale event, especially the Super Bowl, said Will Weatherford, co-chairman of the Host Committee and managing partner of Weatherford Capital, a Tampa investment firm.
“There’s nothing as important from a community perspective as buy-in. Having the support from the public sector and the private sector is critical for us to showcase Tampa Bay in the way we want the world to see it,” Weatherford said.
There also are opportunities for small and minority-owned businesses to participate, said Les Miller, chairman of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.
The Super Bowl Experience will stretch over the 2.7 miles of the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, said Peter O’Reilly, executive vice president at the NFL. Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park will be “the heart of the Experience,” with an opportunity for fans to meet players and take part in activities.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park downtown will “bring Tampa to life,” featuring the culture, arts and vendors unique to the community.
Information about activities and free tickets will be released through a website, nfl.com/tampasb
Super Bowl LV was awarded to Tampa in 2017, because of construction delays at the original venue in Los Angeles. The Host Committee, a private nonprofit organization that represents local leaders in business, tourism, sports, entertainment and government, unveiled its leadership and logo about a year ago.
“When we started this hosting journey over three years ago , we created a mantra for this host effort — Forward Forever,” said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. “Forward is about how far we’ve come as a community since we last hosted in 2009, as well as where we are going in the future. Forever is about Forever 55 and the lasting legacy that Forever 55 will leave on our community and its kids. Recent times have taught us that Forward Forever feels incomplete. Every time our community has been challenged in the past we’ve been successful together, so from now our Super Bowl hosting movement will be Forward Forever Together.”