After pandemic hit, Ron DeSantis cut $1M for Super Bowl LV security

raymond-james-stadium
The Governor's Office says state's sports organization is facing no funding challenges for the Feb. 7 faceoff.

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ budget vetoes last year included $1 million in security and infrastructure funding, intended for use at the upcoming Super Bowl in Tampa.

Tampa and Raymond James Stadium will host Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against the defending champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. But they will do that without the security help lawmakers approved for the Big Game.

“The contract shall provide for security infrastructure and transportation costs to provide a safe and secure event, which includes funding for infrastructure cost, including but not limited to a hard secure perimeter, fencing, magnetometers, entry points, accreditation, directional signage, and transportation equipment, and operating costs for security related transportation,” the budget line read.

That grant was one of 611 line item vetoes DeSantis issued in June, totaling a historic sum greater than $1 billion.

“Last June, to safeguard the state against the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor DeSantis took decisive action by vetoing more than $1 billion in spending, including many of his own initiatives, to ensure that Florida’s priorities were protected and funded,” DeSantis spokesman Cody McCloud said in an email to Florida Politics.

This year will be the fifth time Tampa has hosted a Super Bowl, with the most recent game played at Raymond James Stadium in 2009 in which the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23.

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens hosted the Super Bowl last year, the sixth Super Bowl hosted in the city.

Security was in 2009 and remains now a top priority for city and county officials as large-scale events like that have been considered a potential terrorism target in recent decades.

But a lot has changed since then. The last Super Bowl in Tampa was played before Tampa’s downtown boom and much of the Super Bowl festivities were centered more closely to the stadium itself. That growth has led to greater logistical challenges and more expenses, security experts say.

Florida and the nation are also in a heated political moment. Threats of violence in Florida as recently as Thursday stem from the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to overturn the presidential election in favor of former President Donald Trump.

The U.S. Senate is slated to begin Trump’s impeachment trial the day after the Super Bowl.

Another challenge now facing the state is the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic was only beginning when lawmakers approved the budget request, but the pandemic was in full swing by the time DeSantis vetoed it, experts believed the pandemic could last into 2021.

The Governor’s Office did not clarify whether that funding or if CARES Act dollars could be used for Super Bowl security and infrastructure.

The Florida Sports Foundation, Tampa Stadium Authority and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are using a $1.5 million state grant for Super Bowl security and COVID-19 safety, McCloud said.

“The Florida Sports Foundation has indicated that they are not experiencing any challenges with current funding, and that any additional funding would be unnecessary,” he added.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


4 comments

  • Arthro

    January 26, 2021 at 6:23 am

    Another great decision by our outstanding governor. Thank you, Governor DeSantis.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 26, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Damn damn damn Duffus Desantis! The fact is Duffus Desantis does not give a flip about the Florida Service Economy! Super Bowl is one more opportunity to prove we in Florida are taking the pandemic seriously and are doing everything possible for the safety of Florida citizens and visitors! Florida First is it possible to make and show that we are doing everything to protect Floridians and visitors? Don’t let the anon Duffus Desantis attend!

  • just sayin

    January 26, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Why is this bad? They’re going to need a lot less security, given the fact that no one is going. And the people running it are saying they don’t need anymore money. I feel like people with TDS are just transferring that hole in their lives to DeSantis. The problem is DeSantis is a lot less crazy and evil than Trump.

  • Frankie M.

    January 26, 2021 at 10:50 am

    22K fans will be going to the game. More than any other game this season. Many of these fans will be from out of town & those are just the ones attending the game. It is funny how DeSantis talked up the NFL SB in Tampa (not to mention sports in general with live fan attendance) last summer only to cut funding for the event? I guess you can have your cake and eat it too.

    DeSantis no longer has Trump’s coattails to hide behind so he’s gonna take the crown & make Biden his boogeyman. We’re talking about a guy who ran for governor because he knew he could not survive a primary challenge in his own district. He was upside down in his own lilly white conservative gerrymandered district. Marinate on that.

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