The Buccaneers announced earlier this week they’d go without fans for their first two home games.
If it was up to the head of their state government, they’d have thrown the doors open.
Via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed disappointment that there won’t be fans for those games, for fear it could create the impression they’re not ready to host the Super Bowl in February.
“I really want to be able to show that Tampa is going to be a great place to host the Super Bowl,” DeSantis said. “Showing this community is ready to host a great Super Bowl, having some fans there would’ve been a good first step. It’s not where we need to be.”
DeSantis, more than any other governor in the country, has welcomed sports to his state during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the NBA and WNBA bubbles, Florida has hosted golf tournaments and ultimate fighting events, and last weekend there were 20,000 fans at Daytona for a NASCAR event.
“I told the Bucs that whatever support you need from me you will have it to be able to do it,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis was also on hand with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross when they announced a limited capacity for their home opener (13,000 fans), eager to open up in whatever capacity.