Super Bowl LV will take place on Sunday in Tampa, Florida, but it might not prove to be the usual magnet for private aviation. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, attendance at Raymond James Stadium will intentionally be the lowest ever for an NFL championship game.
Adjacent to Tampa International Airport (TPA), the stadium can accommodate approximately 66,000 spectators, but the league restricted the available tickets to less than half that amount. Among the 25,000 fans expected to be in attendance will be 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers, who were selected for free trips to the game and will be honored during it. The remaining seats will be filled with photo cutouts.
More than just a sporting event, the week before the game has come to serve as a de facto advertising industry showplace, with scores of sponsor parties and VIP meet and greets. According to one source, that activity was curtailed as well, as companies decided to “sit this one out” due to Covid concerns.
Despite this, the local airports are still preparing to receive an influx of aircraft. TPA instituted a slot system that will last through Tuesday, with Sheltair reporting that its FBO there has more than 200 slot reservations during that period. In addition, its other FBOs are reporting 35 such slots at St Petersburg-Clearwater International and 48 at Lakeland Linder Airport.