Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer knows the Bay area's fourth Super Bowl will make it the center of world-wide attention
"Welcoming the world to Tampa Bay."
Those were the words Ken Hagan, chair of the Hillsborough County Commission, used to describe the Super Bowl XLIII experience that has descended upon the Tampa Bay area this week, and the description was apt.
The matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers this coming Sunday will be the focal point of a week's worth of festivities set in the Bay area, but the significance of playing host to such a major event extends far beyond the walls of Raymond James Stadium.
Hagan was one of a handful of local officials on hand at a Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee press conference Monday afternoon at the Super Bowl Media Center, located at the Tampa Convention Center, to put out the Bay area's welcome mat and discuss the excitement and importance surrounding the upcoming week.
Hagan was joined by Reid Sigmon, executive director of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee; Dick Beard, chairman of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee; Pam Iorio, the mayor of Tampa; Calvin Harris, chair of the Pinellas County Commission; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' own Co-Chairman, Bryan Glazer. The group addressed media members in the audience and spoke about the honor of bringing the Super Bowl to Tampa once again.
"I'm thrilled to welcome the NFL to Tampa Bay for our fourth Super Bowl," Beard said. "Only four cities have hosted the Super Bowl four times. It's an honor for us, and we're ready. We're confident Super Bowl XLIII will be successful and memorable."
Glazer and the Bay Area officials each talked about how proud they were to be hosting the NFL's signature event and just how important it was for the region.
Iorio said the estimated 100,000 visitors to the area would be delighted to find bustling downtown areas, numerous cultural activities and an abundance of restaurants and events to enjoy. Hagan noted that an estimated 4,500 credentialed media members would put Tampa Bay on an incredible national and international platform and give the region unprecedented exposure.
Furthermore, Sigmon noted that the Super Bowl and its affiliated events would prove to be an amazing boost to the local economy – roughly $300 million in economic impact, an estimate base on the output of previous Super Bowls.
As for Glazer, he stressed how excited and honored the Tampa Bay area and its football fans – and especially the Buccaneers organization – are to be hosting the Super Bowl.
"We're so excited to be here today," Glazer said. "It just seemed like yesterday that we were awarded the Super Bowl. We're very honored that the other owners gave us the key to run with it this year. It's our fourth Super Bowl here and I think it gets better and better every time.
"The community is very much appreciative of it. I was at the NFL Experience yesterday walking around just as a fan and it was mostly locals this past weekend and everyone was so excited to have this in the community. These are tough economic times, but people are so appreciative of all years to have it here this year."
While Glazer said he wished the Bucs were in a position host and play in the big game, it was still an excellent chance to showcase the franchise's top-notch facility and stadium.
"We're very pleased that the Arizona Cardinals could be practicing in our facility," Glazer said. "I think it's a world-class facility. It's a little depressing for me to see Arizona Cardinals flags flying in front of our building. We would like it to be Bucs flags this week, but maybe in another year."
Super Bowl XLIII will be played on the field at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, February 1 and will culminate a busy week of events, but the fans in the stands won't be the only ones to get a glimpse of what the Bay Area has to offer.
"The Super Bowl is America's game," Iorio said. "It is watched by people throughout the country and throughout the world and by our soldiers overseas. It means a lot to everyone, so we realize that on Sunday, we represent a slice of the United States. All eyes will be on us, and we are very proud of the effort that we have put forth."