The Super Bowl is unlike any other American sporting event: a soccer game is the anchor for parties, fanfare and a breathtaking TV show where the advertising and halftime show are equally attractive to more than 100 million fans.
But like everything else in the year since the coronavirus pandemic hit the globe, Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida has been scaled down to meet Covid-19 health guidelines, despite the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the first NFL team excited were to play in the championship game in his hometown – Raymond James Stadium.
While the football that is played on Sunday looks largely the same as it did in other years, almost everything else about the Super Bowl will be different.
Super Bowl LV: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, February 7th, 6:30 p.m. Eastern, CBS
The players are being tested even more.
Players, coaches, and staff from each team were tested for Covid-19 daily throughout the season, including match days. Since the Buccaneers and Chiefs qualified for the Super Bowl on January 24, team staff have been tested for coronavirus twice a day.
Anyone with a confirmed positive test must stay away from their team for at least 10 days. The Buccaneers and the Chiefs haven’t had a positive test in over three weeks.
However, two Chiefs players – recipient Demarcus Robinson and center Daniel Kilgore – came into close contact with an infected person and must be in isolation for at least five days, Chiefs coach Andy Reid confirmed on Monday.
As of early August, approximately 15,000 NFL players, coaches, and staff have received nearly 1 million tests, far more than any other US-based sports league. More than 700 players, coaches and employees tested positive during this time.
Due to concerns about exposure to the coronavirus, the Buccaneers and Chiefs have deviated from the normal Super Bowl route. For most years, the two opposing teams would arrive in Super Bowl city a week before the game to conduct exercises and scheduled media interviews. This year, players and coaches will conduct these interviews via video conferencing, as they did during the 2020 regular season.
In order to further reduce the team’s risk of infection, the chiefs should not arrive in Tampa until Saturday. The buccaneers don’t have to go far.
There will be fewer fans in the game.
Super bowls usually sell out their seating capacity, even for tickets that cost $ 10,000 or more. Attendance has never fallen below the 61,946 who attended Super Bowl I in Los Angeles in 1967 and exceeded 100,000 in a few years.
Apr. 1, 2021, 10:43 p.m. ET
This year, the NFL will host fewer than 25,000 fans, a record low for a Super Bowl and less than half the capacity of Raymond James Stadium. The league has given vaccinated healthcare workers 7,500 tickets. Another 14,500 seats will be sold to fans who do not need to be vaccinated or tested before entering the stadium, and another 2,700 fans will be seated in luxury boxes. Each fan participating in the game will receive a kit of personal protective equipment, including a KN95 mask and hand sanitizer.
The Weeknd’s halftime show will be socially distant.
The musical halftime act The Weeknd will perform at halftime, one of the biggest platforms for any artist. The NFL has significantly reduced the number of people allowed to play on the field this season in an attempt to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Therefore, it is unlikely that hundreds of fans will be allowed to dance in front of a stage as it has in recent years.
But The Weeknd, whose name is Abel Tesfaye, has announced it will spend $ 7 million of its own money to improve the experience for television audiences. He becomes the first Black Performer to lead the halftime show since late 2019, when the league partnered with Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports company, to curate the performance. Earlier this year, many artists rejected the NFL’s request in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
TV advertising is weakened.
TV commercials during the Super Bowl can often get more exposure than the game itself. This year, some of the show’s biggest sponsors, such as Coca-Cola and Hyundai, decided not to spend millions of dollars on 30-second spots.
Budweiser, the beer giant whose commercials featuring Clydesdale horses, croaking frogs, and cute puppies are donating part of their advertising budget this year to the Ad Council, a nonprofit marketing group fighting skepticism about coronavirus vaccines.
However, younger companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Vroom, which have grown during the pandemic, will continue to vie for attention.
The parties are being scaled back, some with virtual guests.
The typically scintillating Super Bowl parties – including Commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual event that sees team owners, network managers, and friends of the NFL hobby – don’t happen this year as most bigwigs plan to stay home.
The NFL will be hosting their annual pregame tailgate party, which will air on TikTok this year and which will feature a performance by Miley Cyrus. The event typically attracts 10,000 fans who are in person. In their place, 7,500 vaccinated health care workers will be admitted to the fair.