Tampa, FL- The Tampa Bay sports community has been recognized as the “Best Sports City” of 2021 by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal.
The region earned the honor following an impressive 2021, which featured championship wins by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Lightning, the best season in franchise history by the Tampa Bay Rays, becoming the first city to host both a Super Bowl and WrestleMania in the same year, along with successfully hosting relocated Raptors and Blue Jays regular season games.
“Thank you to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal for this tremendous honor,” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. “There’s no doubt the last couple of years have been beyond challenging, but this award is a great tribute to our community’s resiliency, passion and teamwork. The future is very bright for Team Tampa Bay. We are just getting started!”
“This was another year of incredible change that brought out the best in the sports business industry,” said SBJ’s Publisher and Executive Editor, Abraham Madkour. “That made the selection process extremely difficult, as each category had multiple nominees that were worthy of these honors. That in itself is a testament to the hard work of so many in the sports business, as well as the growth that we see across sports, and I’m sure both will continue.”
In awarding the honor, Tyler Everett of SBJ wrote:
“Welcome to Champa Bay. It would be easy to look at the NFL and NHL titles won by the Buccaneers and Lightning, respectively (we see you too, AL East champion Rays) and conclude that all that hardware was the reason why Tampa is our choice as the Best Sports City of 2021. But Tampa did more than just burnish its growing reputation as a city of champions. It also hosted two of the sports industry’s biggest events: WrestleMania 37 and, of course, Super Bowl LV, which featured 25,000 fans at Raymond James Stadium, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers.”
The article goes on to say:
“The city’s signature moment from 2021 will undoubtedly be Super Bowl LV. As if hosting America’s biggest annual sports game wasn’t enough, this year also became the first time a team played in and won the Super Bowl on its home field. Beyond that, with the pandemic still raging across the country, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and the NFL overcame a series of logistical hurdles to host an event that bore at least a comforting resemblance to Super Bowls of years past. For instance, the Super Bowl Experience Presented by Lowe’s drew a total of nearly 250,000 fans — each of whom had to use a health screening app to gain admission — including an event record of 34,831 on average for each of its seven sessions, according to Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Director Rob Higgins.”
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