NFL to give 7,500 vaccinated health care workers free Super Bowl tickets

The Big Game

A video board at Raymond James Stadium shows a “Salute to Service” graphic during an NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Sabitus)

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NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is inviting approximately 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to Super Bowl LV.

The invitation is to honor healthcare workers for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” Goodell said. “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.”

While a majority of health care invitees will come from health systems and hospitals in central Florida and Tampa, all 32 NFL teams will select health care workers in their communities to attend Super Bowl LV for free.

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. will host an additional 14,500 fans bringing the total capacity to 22,000.

The NFL’s decision comes after discussions with the CDC, Florida Department of Health, area hospitals and other public health officials.

Super Bowl plans enhance the already rigorous COVID-19 protocols implemented by NFL clubs that hosted more than 1.2 million fans at 116 games throughout the regular season and playoffs. These protocols include mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing, and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes podded seating, touchless in-stadium experiences at concessions, restrooms, and security checkpoints, as well as controlled entry and egress.

Press release from the National Football League

“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,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said. “Especially our frontline health care workers who have worked tirelessly over the past year to keep people safe.”

The NFL has received support from state health officials and legislators for their efforts in hosting the Super Bowl in Tampa and promoting health safety and vaccine acceptance.

“Our local healthcare workers have worked around the clock to ensure the health and safety of our community and I cannot think of a better way to honor them than with the eyes of the world on our hometown for Super Bowl LV,” City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “Our country has endured so much over the last year and we can’t lose sight of those who worked day in and day out to keep us safe. Thank you to the NFL for helping make this happen.”

The NFL will also recognize health care heroes around the country through a variety of special moments both in the stadium and during the broadcast.

Super Bowl LV will kick off in Tampa on Sunday, Feb. 7.

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