The Super Bowl last came to Tampa in early 2001, but it's on its way again in less than a year
The Super Bowl has evolved from its humble beginnings as a championship game between the NFL and AFL to the foremost single sporting event in the world.
The NFL just played its 42nd Super Bowl, and the game's runaway popularity only seems to be growing. That's extremely relevant to the Tampa Bay area because, with Super Bowl XLII now in the books and the New York Giants hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, attention now turns to the 2008 NFL season and the site of next year's final game – Raymond James Stadium.
As last weekend's game showed, this thing is big, and it's only getting bigger.
Super Bowl XLII was a record-setting event in terms of global interest and media coverage, and as the countdown now begins for the Super Bowl to pay its fourth visit to Tampa, here's a look at some of the numbers from this year's game:
|**223 –**||Countries the game was televised in|
|**116 –**||International media outlets that covered the game from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona|
|**30 –**||Languages the game was televised in|
|**4,786 –**||Media credentials issued to members of print, television, radio and internet outlets covering the game, a record number that topped the 4,516 credentials issued at Super Bowl XLI in Miami|
|**97 –**||Tables set up for various outlets broadcasting throughout the week in "Radio Row" at the Phoenix Convention Center, the site of the Super Bowl Media Center|
|**97.5 million –**||Estimated number of people, reported by Nielsen Media Research, who watched Super Bowl XLII on television, making it the most-watched Super Bowl ever and the second-largest event in American TV history|
|**43.2 –**||Nielsen rating of the game, meaning 43.2 percent of the televisions in America were tuned into the game|
|**65 –**||Nielsen share of the game, meaning 65 percent of all televisions that were in use were tuned into the game|
|**71,101 –**||Attendance for the game at University of Phoenix Stadium|
Super Bowl XLII had some intriguing story lines that drove global interest to new heights. The upstart Giants tried, successfully, to end the Patriots' quest for perfection. The flames of the New York-Boston rivalry were fanned even more. The game itself turned out to be an intense, down-to-the wire matchup that will go down as one of the more exciting games in Super Bowl history.
But even with all of that said, the Super Bowl is clearly at an all-time high in terms of interest, both in America and abroad, as evidenced by the record number of media outlets covering the game and the growing legions of fans all over the world tuning in to watch.
As the biggest sporting event in the world prepares to land in Tampa in 2009, Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager Bruce Allen said next year's Super Bowl will give the city a chance to elevate the game to an even higher level.
"The opportunity to host the Super Bowl is tremendous," Allen said. "It gives us a chance to show off our town. [Phoenix] is a beautiful town, and it has a lot to offer, but it doesn't have our water, it doesn't have our skyline, and it doesn't have a lot of the passion for football that we have. It'll be exciting to have everybody in our place."