Make us your home page

Pasco businesses look for a Super Bowl bonus

Recession or not, this weekend's big game should mean big gains for Tampa business owners.

But will the Super Bowl XLIII wealth creep north of the Hillsborough County line? It depends on whom you ask.

Big name Pasco County resorts like Saddlebrook and Caliente are expected to fill up, while the chain hotels along Interstate 75, — they anticipated their close proximity to the Shops at Wiregrass and the Grove at Wesley Chapel would mean a full house — are hoping for a surge of last-minute reservations.

"We were very excited," said Nootan Patel, manager and owner of the Comfort Inn near the Grove. "But there's nothing to be seen yet."

The hotel took out ads especially for the Super Bowl and even offered guests complimentary shuttle rides from Wesley Chapel to Ybor City.

But it's looking at only 30 percent occupancy this weekend. The average for this time of year is usually closer to 90 percent, Patel said.

The shuttles were axed.

"Maybe people thought we were too far from the stadium," Patel said.

Her neighbors at the Sleep Inn are seeing better numbers. The hotel was about 60 percent booked earlier this week. About half of those bookings came in last weekend.

Across the county, the year-old Residence Inn Northpointe, next to the Suncoast Parkway, is "just shy" of being completely sold out, said Lorraine Fernandez, director of sales.

The Super Bowl's last visit to Tampa was in 2001. That January brought in slightly higher than average tourist tax revenue for the county, but the following month was the second highest February on record since the county started collecting such data in 1991, said Eric Keaton, Pasco's public communication officer.

"I don't think we can directly say that was related to the Super Bowl," Keaton said. "The worst you can say is it's a pretty good coincidence."

The county will not receive numbers on the economic impact of this year's Super Bowl until late March, but some people are already making predictions.

Better bottom lines

Greg Lenners, manager at Wiregrass, thinks football revelers will boost mall revenue by about 10 percent, though the lines will be much shorter Sunday evening.

"We are realistic that everyone is going to rush home to their TVs at 5 o'clock," Lenners said.

Organizers at Caliente, a clothing optional resort in Land O'Lakes, predict they will see a 50 to 75 percent increase in income this weekend thanks to a host of parties and celebrity appearances.

The pierced and cross-dressing Dennis Rodman is scheduled to stop by. So is Robert Burck, better known as the Naked Cowboy, a skivvy clad guitarist who serenades crowds in New York City. Former Buccaneer Chidi Ahanotu will also make an appearance.

Rumors fly that Janet Jackson will party it up in Tampa this weekend, but Caliente may be more her speed.

"If you have a wardrobe malfunction (here,) it's not a problem," said Angye Fox, Caliente spokesperson.

The clothing optional resort was to be the site of the Lingerie Bowl, a full contact football game played by barely dressed women, but that was nixed earlier this week.

A Lingerie Football League spokesperson told the Times that holding and broadcasting the game in the nude or around nude people was not what the players or league had in mind.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at or (813) 435-7312.

Fast Facts

Guest appearances for Super Bowl

These celebrities are expected at Caliente:

• Former Buccaneer Chidi Ahanotu

• Robert Burck (the Naked Cowboy)

• Dennis Rodman

Pasco businesses look for a Super Bowl bonus 01/29/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers


    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson Jenn Meale said Monday.

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  2. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?


    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary


    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  4. Goodbye Tampa Bay Express, hello Tampa Bay Next; but toll lanes aren't going anywhere


    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    But its replacement — Tampa Bay Next — will likely include many of the same projects, including express toll lanes on the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. DOT officials say there are still re-evaluating the most controversial aspect of the old TBX plan: spend $6 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area highways - Interstates 4,75 and 275 - that are currently free of tolls. But TBN will keep the plan to add express toll lanes to the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as a place to live and build a career.

    Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]