NFL fans in Florida are in luck. Not only did last season’s Super Bowl LIV take place in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, but it was one of the most exciting and memorable championship games the league has ever seen.
Coming into the 2020 NFL season, football fans in Florida have even more to cheer about. Star players Tom Brady and Robert ‘Gronk’ Gronkowski moved to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the New England Patriots—and they also brought another Super Bowl to the sunshine state.
Super Bowl LV is set to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay on Sunday, February 7th, 2021. Though it’s a treat to local fans of the Buccaneers or football in general, it’s also a major win for the Tampa Bay economy.
Miami and surrounding areas continue to benefit from the some $572 million invested in the local economy during Super Bowl LIV. Meanwhile, residents in northern Florida are preparing for Tampa Bay to host the upcoming championship.
As sports betting sites prepare their odds and pundits make their predictions for post-season play, businesses on the ground in Tampa Bay will be working to expand their offerings for incoming sports tourists.
However, major sports events and local economic booms aren’t the only benefits from the NFL’s two-year stint in the state. Florida continues to benefit from the NFL’s environmental wing, NFL Green. Each year, NFL Green partners with the Super Bowl Host Committee (specific to each city) to join local efforts to preserve natural wonders, which is a cause dear to many locals.
Miami Reef Restoration
In celebration of the NFL’s centennial, NFL Green and the NFL Hosting Committee helped launch a project called 100 Yards of Hope before Super Bowl LIV in Miami. This project brought on a coalition known as Force Blue.
Force Blue is a unique organization that contracts former Special Operations veterans and combat divers to assist in marine conversation efforts. The group has been active since 2016 and helps connect divers to conservation projects nationwide.
The NFL and Force Blue’s 100 Yards of Hope project have worked alongside the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to undertake the restoration project.
The year-long effort will continue until February of next year. As mentioned in the project’s title, the goal of the restoration project is to fully restore 100 yards (the length of a football field) of coral off the coast of Key Biscayne.
Tampa Bay Sand Dune Restoration & More
In early October, the NFL’s Miami Super Bowl Host Committee passed on the torch (or, in this case, a golden shovel) to the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee. This year’s handoff was unique, as a Force Blue diver from the 100 Yards of Hope project hand-delivered the shovel to the committee after emerging from the water in full diving equipment.
Unlike the reef restoration project undertaken in Southern Florida, Tampa Bay is slated for a wide variety of environmental pursuits. The first major project came from Tampa Parks and Recreation, which help replant sand dunes where the Force Blue shovel handoff took place.
There, local volunteers helped replant sea oats, dune sunflowers, railroad vine, and cordgrass in sand dunes to prevent erosion. In-store for the coastal city is a plethora of other urgent projects.
These projects include mangrove restoration, fostering gardens with plants that help pollinators like bees, tree planting, vegetable gardens, compost projects, and cleanups at local parks like Lowry Park and McKay Bay Nature Park.
To complete these many projects, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee is partnering with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and Tampa Parks and Recreations. Each project scheduled targets a specific area and issue but also works to engage different members of the community.