Ducky’s Sports Lounge erupted in cheers Sunday, when the Bucs won the NFC Championship, and ultimately, a trip back to their home town to play in next month’s Super Bowl. 

What You Need To Know

  • Reduced crowds could limit the amount of money local businesses make from the Super Bowl

  • Businesses are being forced to adjust because of COVID

“It was chaos,” said Orin Clark, general manager of Ducky’s. “It’s amazing. It’s a good feeling.” 

Super Bowl Sunday usually has an economic impact of between $100 to $300 million on the host city’s businesses, with most of the money going to restaurants, bars, and hotels. 

But this year, smaller crowds are expected at local sports bars and lounges – something unheard of in Super Bowl cities. COVID-19 changed everything, and Ducky’s is having to adjust. 

Clark says the sports lounge is planning a socially-distanced tailgating party on Super Bowl Sunday. The parking lot and patio outside of Ducky’s will be transformed into an event space complete with food, tents, and TVs.

“Most people are going to want to see the Florida weather and be outside because they have been closed off, so now they can check it out and see some of this Florida sun,” Clark said.

And it’s not just bars and restaurants feeling the financial pinch. 

“We basically furloughed a lot of our employees,” said Stephanie Prenatt, co-owner of FH Events, a Tampa-based event planning business. “[We’re not getting] as much business as we’ve had, but we’re still grateful for the business that we have gotten.”

Prenatt saw her business decline at a time when it should have been booming because of the big game. Fortunately, she was able to retain some of her clients, one of which will be front and center at the NFL Experience in Curtis Hixon Park.

“We came up with a strategy in what we could do, and it just started all working out,” she said. “We don’t give up.”