Since 1967, the Super Bowl marks a day in which the spirit of American football is amplified. In the past several years, stadiums have been packed to the brim with fans and supporters, all gathering to watch their favorite players and teams. Typically, an event like this would be flooded with a variety of news and media coverage and a slew of other attendees alongside the fans. Super Bowl week usually showcases overpriced flights and hotel rooms, as fans, athletes and families fill the city where the main event takes place. Unfortunately, with a global pandemic placing a halt on large gatherings, Super Bowl LV will look slightly different this year.
With the playoffs in full swing, Super Bowl 2021 is right around the corner. The event itself will be taking place on Sunday, Feb. 7th at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, the Super Bowl Experience will be a multi-day event from Jan. 29th through Jan. 31st and Feb. 3rd through Feb.6th. According to the NFL, the event is being offered as a means of celebration and appreciation for the history of the sport. The days before the main event will be filled with several fan-experience opportunities such as player meet and greets, a display of the Vince Lombardi Trophy and much more. This display of events will be held at various Tampa Bay Parks, but most notably the Tampa Bay Riverwalk which features scenic views of the bay and an abundance of outdoor space to ensure the safety of those attending. During this event, face coverings and social distancing of 6 feet will be enforced.
The stadium, which normally has a capacity of approximately 65,618, will most likely only be allowing 20 percent of the usual attendance for in-person viewing, although this number is not yet officially decided. These protocols are being placed to ensure the ongoing safety of all Super Bowl attendants, athletes, employees and coaches alike. The seating arrangement for this year will be vastly different from the usual crowdedness seen at past Super Bowl events. Social distancing will continue to be enforced, as fans will likely be seated in small groups 6 feet apart from others, which has been the general procedure during other games throughout the season. As expected, masks will be required for entering the event and viewing. NFL Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills, recently stated in an interview that the COVID-19 safety plan also encourages extensive testing for players and their families.
Those who will be viewing the event strictly for the halftime show may be pleased to find that the tradition lives on with singer-songwriter, The Weeknd is expected to perform a variety of musical numbers. While this is not the first time the artist has performed in Tampa, with past shows taking place at the Amalie Arena, this will be his first performance at a large sporting event. As it currently stands, this is the only official artist that has been announced, which differs from past halftime shows which featured multiple artists.
While Super Bowl 2021 will surely stand out from past events, COVID-19 safety precautions are no surprise as the world faces a pandemic. It is evident that the NFL is placing a large emphasis on health and wellness while aiming to give fans and viewers the experience that would normally be expected.