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Tampa skyline. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay area is having a heck of a sports year.

Yes, but: Its hometown teams have played in empty stadiums, or faraway bubbles, so it hasn't gotten to enjoy the excitement — or reap the economic rewards — that such success typically brings.

  • The Rays have a 2-0 lead in the ALCS after Monday's 4-2 win over the Astros in a game that would have normally been played at a packed Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg) but instead was played at an empty Petco Park (San Diego).
  • The Lightning won their second Stanley Cup, but did so in a fanless bubble, far from Amalie Arena (at least they got a boat parade).
  • The Buccaneers landed Tom Brady this offseason, but fans weren't permitted to attend games until last week — and even then, it was just 6,000.

And let's not forget: The pandemic also wiped out major sporting events slated to take place in the Tampa Bay area this year.

  • March Madness (would have hosted games)
  • WrestleMania (moved to Orlando)
  • The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (postponed IndyCar race)
  • The Valspar Championship (canceled PGA Tour event)
  • About a third of MLB's spring training (hosts Yankees, Phillies and Blue Jays)

By the numbers: Add it all up and the Tampa Bay area is facing a loss of roughly $400 million in sports-related economic impact this year, per multiple estimates.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 18, 2020 - Sports

The Tokyo Olympics look set to go ahead with fans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

IOC president Thomas Bach arrived in Tokyo this week as a cheerleader for next year's Olympics, saying he's "very confident" the Games will open with fans on July 23, 2021.

What he's saying: Bach issued a gentle plea to all competitors to get vaccinated if and when a vaccine is available, and added that a "reasonable number" of fans should be able to attend with or without a vaccine.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
8 mins ago - Health

Who benefits from Biden's move to reopen ACA enrollment

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly 15 million Americans who are currently uninsured are eligible for coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than half of them would qualify for subsidies, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief.

Why it matters: President Biden is expected to announce today that he'll be reopening the marketplaces for a special enrollment period, but getting a significant number of people to sign up for coverage will likely require targeted outreach.

1 hour ago - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools.