TAMPA — As a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, Tyler Martinolich cheered Tom Brady’s decision to return to the team after a 40-day retirement.
As the Hillsborough County film commissioner, “I had tears of joy,” Martinolich laughed.
Part of Martinolich’s job is to grow the county’s production industry.
Brady makes that easier.
“There are a lot of intangibles with Tom Brady that people don’t appreciate, whether that’s increased ticket sales or excitement about Tampa as an overall market,” Martinolich said. “Another is that he brings a lot of commercials here.”
Martinolich estimates Brady has brought “tens of millions of dollars” in commercials to Tampa since signing with the Bucs in 2020, and that includes a first year when productions were mostly shutdown due to the pandemic.
That money is spent on location and equipment rental, catering, hotel rooms and employing local cast and crew.
“He is the spokesperson for everything from Aston Martin to UGG and Under Armor and everything in between,” Martinolich said. “And when they shoot his commercials, something is usually shot here. Top talent typically like to work a short distance from their home.”
Brady’s Tostitos spot had an estimated economic impact of around $200,000, according to the film commission, due to 35 local hires and 60 hotel room nights. And EA Sports spent around $100,000 on a Brady commercial here through 45 local hires and 30 hotel room nights.
In 2019, the year before Brady arrived, commercials had at least an $11.8 million economic impact on Hillsborough, according to the film commission’s numbers. For 2021, that total rose to a minimum of $19.3 million.
“You can’t attribute that completely to Brady, but he was a large part of it,” Martinolich said.
And those numbers represent just a portion of Brady’s economic impact.
The film commission only tracks productions that apply for a county incentive or that require a permit to film in public spaces.
“Every time he filmed at his house, or at a studio, or at the stadium, that’s not reflected in our numbers,” Martinolich said. “The impact that film has on the county is several magnitudes higher than what we are able to report.”
Those projects that Martinolich cannot track include the documentary series Man in the Arena: Tom Brady.
Tampa’s Vu Technologies, whose clients include the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Atlanta Braves, worked on that series when it filmed in Tampa.
Sports, the production company’s CEO Tim Moore said, typically have a major impact on a region’s production industry, even more so when the area has a winning team and major star.
“Spectacular superstar players have large endorsements and they tend to attract a lot of commercial productions,” Moore said.
Companies like to hire winners to endorse products, but teams also advertise more when they win, Moore said. “This past year with Braves winning the World Series, our production work almost doubled. Winning is everything.”
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And that’s why Brady has been so key to Hillsborough’s production industry.
“Sports is a big business and winning teams bring in big business,” Martinolich said. “Tom Brady is the ultimate winner.”