Controversy Arises Around Super Bowl 56 and Its Possible Covid Impact

With the Super Bowl rapidly approaching, some remain skeptical that the large gathering will be a super spreader event. Superbowl 56 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 13th, 2022 at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The game will take place at the Rams’ stadium but the Bengals (being part of the AFC) will play as the home team. 

Although many are looking forward to this major occasion, there is some skepticism regarding the rising Covid cases in the state. Such a large gathering in the middle of a pandemic could potentially expose fans to the virus. More concerns arise along with the new, more contagious, omicron variant.

Despite the controversy, California’s officials insist on keeping the game at SoFi. This debate has been ongoing for the past few weeks. The NFL has even looked at different locations recently, but it now seems as though there will be no change. 

Having the Super Bowl in LA will bring financial benefits to the local community. In the past, the Super Bowl has brought hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact and will likely maintain this success. The NFL has brought two programs with them in an attempt to support minority-run small businesses in the local area. These are the Legacy Program and the Business Connect initiative. This is likely why so many encourage the holding of the Super Bowl in LA. 

According to the LA Times, in a study by economic researcher Roy Weinstein, they project that “…the Super Bowl will generate up to $477.5 million in benefits, coming from an estimated 150,000 out-of-town visitors who are expected to spend up to $350 per night on hotel rooms and $300 per day on other things. As much as $22 million in taxes will flow into local and state coffers.” 

That said, these numbers are difficult to calculate accurately with the continuous Covid outbreaks throughout California. The capacity at SoFi is 70,240, and the NFL intends on filling every seat. Regardless, there are several safety measures in place to ensure the health of the attendees. 

According to nfl.com, these safety measures include- 

  • Proof of vaccination or a negative covid test to attend 
  • Face covering requirement 
  • Numerous sanitation stations
  • Physical distancing measures
  • Onsight medical teams

They’ve also instilled health promises which acknowledge the pandemic and agree to prioritize the safety of those in attendance. 

On the other hand, some officials recommend just staying at home. Dr. Penny Bornstein, a San Luis Obispo County Health Officer, says, “The safest way to watch the Super Bowl this year is at home with a small group of friends or family.” 

Their health department proceeds to list other ways to stay safe from Covid. They suggest limiting the number of people you are with, keeping gatherings local, getting vaccinated, and holding activities outdoors. 

However you spend your Super Bowl weekend, I encourage you to stay safe and enjoy the game.

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