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He’s not the face of Tampa Bay sports. Maybe he should be.

If you haven’t heard of Rob Higgins, that’s OK. The people behind the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff, NHL All-Star Game, Women’s Final Four and Frozen Four certainly have.
CHRIS URSO   |   Times
Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission Rob Higgins texts on his cellphone while outside Raymond James Stadium just prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Clemson Tigers taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday, Jan. 09, 2017 in Tampa.
CHRIS URSO | Times Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission Rob Higgins texts on his cellphone while outside Raymond James Stadium just prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Clemson Tigers taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday, Jan. 09, 2017 in Tampa.
Published Jul. 8, 2019
Updated Jul. 8, 2019

Perhaps our search for the face of Tampa Bay sports has been too confined. What if we’re short-changing the region by looking only in locker rooms or film rooms?

What about a conference room?

Think about it: Where on the sports landscape has Tampa Bay consistently excelled in this millennium, even as its pro sports franchises ebb and flow to varying degrees of madness? For a hint, ask Baylor women’s hoops. Or Alabama football. Or Boston College men’s hockey.

All likely will attest that no one rolls out a red carpet like the bay area.

Related: DEBATE: Who is the face of Tampa Bay sports?

We are the host with the most. The 2017 CFP title game at Raymond James Stadium was a smash. We’ve staged Frozen Fours (for men) and Final Fours (for women) to rave reviews. Wrestlemania’s coming next year, another Super Bowl the year after that.

Leading the charge to bring these spectacles to our shores is a diminutive dynamo, a home-grown bundle of savvy, charm and innovation. He’s observant, a meticulous note-taker, unconventional yet wholly unassuming.

As a result, he consistently has won over those conference rooms, in the process winning bids to host one sports crown jewel after another.

Problem is, he operates neither behind center nor behind the plate, but behind the scenes. The casual sports fan probably couldn’t pick Rob Higgins — Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director, not to mention USF and Jesuit High alumnus — out of a lineup.

Maybe it’s time that changed.

Time to attach a face to the name.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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