TAMPA, Fla. — As the NFL surprised thousands of health care workers with free tickets to Super Bowl LV, the league also announced how many fans would be allowed to buy tickets to the game.
A total of 22,000 people will be allowed in the stands at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Feb. 7 to watch the big game. However, about 7,500 of those tickets are being reserved for vaccinated health care workers who the NFL is directly contacting to invite.
Among those medical invitees were health care workers from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, who were surprised by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with the news via a Zoom call. You can watch their reactions here.
All health care workers being invited have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
In a release, Goodell says this was a way for the league to honor and thank these workers for their continued work on the front lines during the pandemic.
The NFL says invited guests will get free Super Bowl tickets and gameday experiences directly from the league.
While most health care guests will be from Florida, the league says all 32 NFL teams will select four vaccinated health care workers to attend the game on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium.
That means in reality a total of 14,500 tickets will be available for Super Bowl LV. You can get information on how to buy tickets here.
The NFL said its decision on fan attendance came after discussions with public health officials including the CDC, the Florida Department of Health and area hospitals and health care systems.
The league says safety protocols for the Super Bowl "enhance" existing COVID-19 protocols implemented for this season. These measures include mandatory masks, social-distancing, seating pods and touchless "in-stadium experiences."
"Florida is proud to host Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to crown the champion of an unprecedented NFL season," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote in a statement.
"On behalf of Floridians and football fans across the nation, I'd like to thank the many men and women who worked hard to make this game a reality, especially our frontline health care workers who have worked tirelessly over the past year to keep people safe," DeSantis added. "I look forward to the positive impact this game will have on the Tampa Bay area, and my family and I can't wait for the big game!"
Kickoff for Super Bowl LV is at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 7. You can watch the game locally on 10 Tampa Bay and nationally on CBS stations.
Listen to the Tampa Bay 55 podcast for a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the Super Bowl.
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