Amid the 22,000 fans who will be in attendance at the Feb. 7 Super Bowl in Tampa will be 7,500 healthcare workers — all vaccinated — who will attend the game for free, the NFL announced Friday.
Most of the workers will be from the Tampa area, but each of the 32 NFL teams will also be allowed to select local workers to send to the game at Raymond James Stadium as well.
But the 7,500 workers will be just a third of the attendees at the game. The NFL intends to have 14,500 additional fans inside the stadium when the winner of Sunday’s NFC Championship between the Packers and the Buccaneers, and the winner of the AFC Championship between the Bills and the Chiefs, face off.
“These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings.”
The NFL has, so far, navigated playing a season during a raging pandemic successfully. Not a single regular-season game was postponed, although many were rescheduled, and in some locales throughout the seasons fans were able to attend games. The league said more than 1.2 million were in attendance at 116 games this year.
The NFL’s release of details of the ticket plan said the league consulted with the CDC, the Florida department of health, and local hospitals, and that the plans “will enable the league to host fans and the vaccinated health care workers in a safe and responsible way.”