Super Bowl XXXVII
Bay's new sales pitch to clients: champions
By JEFF HARRINGTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 28, 2003
Monday was a heck of a time for Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce president Kim Scheeler to draw jury duty.
Here it was the day after the Super Bowl and the limelight of the world shone on Tampa Bay. It's the kind of moment a chamber lives for.
But Scheeler didn't have to worry being out of pocket. All around him, business boosters were capitalizing on the Bucs' victory:
-- A Visit Florida Inc. public relations mission in New York this week includes appearances by a chef from the Tampa restaurant SideBern's who has been reminded to make mention of the Super Bowl outcome in media interviews.
-- Tampa ad agency Moore Epstein Moore was creating a black banner mentioning the Super Bowl to overlay on ads for the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, the marketing arm for the Hillsborough County tourist industry. The bureau's trade show booth is being tweaked to include Buccaneer-related stuff at trade shows of meeting planners in Dallas and Charlotte, N.C.
-- The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce had sent fliers and pennants to key consultants and some candidates for corporate relocation when Tampa made it to the Super Bowl. With the win, look for the "champs" image to be a staple of the chamber's promotional efforts.
"We're going to claim to be the Super City for a year until somebody else takes this title," Tampa chamber chairwoman Deanne Roberts said.
A Super Bowl championship might not clinch the decision for a job prospect weighing a move to the area. But it might have an intangible effect on boosting the region's positive reputation and visibility.
"I don't think there's anybody in the world that hasn't heard of Tampa now. And you could not, as a chamber of commerce, buy that publicity," Tampa Mayor Dick Greco said Monday morning before joining the Bucs on the flight back from San Diego. "There's no way on God's earth you could buy in this season what was accomplished by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."
To Greco, the Bucs' victorious march is but one factor that has put Tampa on the map. Hosting three Super Bowls helped. So has Tampa International Airport. And a solid university network and work force. All factors, he said, make Tampa a well-rounded city.
But can the label "Super Bowl Champ" make a difference in wooing business prospects?
"The art form is obviously trying to use it tactfully and effectively," said St. Petersburg economic development director Ron Barton, who views the main benefit of the victory as familiarizing the country with where Tampa Bay is. "You're exposing a marketplace to business leaders and investors. The more you are at the front of the list that comes to mind of people, the better off you are."
Karen Brand, vice president of marketing for the Tampa convention and visitors bureau, agrees the exposure helps. "In a trade show setting, having the Super Bowl to talk about might give us a talking point introduction with a prospective client who otherwise might not have talked with us."
Then there's the quality-of-life issue. Tampa companies that recruit employees from other urban areas might find their prospects expect amenities such as a winning sports team and an entertaining nightlife.
"The types of businesses you want to come here all hire people who are well-educated, who have these things in their life," Greco said. "They're not going to move to a community that doesn't have them."
Perhaps the win will do at least as much for job retention as job creation.
"Sometimes we have in inferiority complex in this community and I think this win is going to go a long way to say, "Let's get beyond that,' " Roberts said.
Consider a marketing study two years ago in which Tampa Bay area companies gave the area lower ratings than did out-of-state companies being targeted for relocation. Such attributes as quality of work force, crime rate and education were rated lower by the hometown crowd.
"This win is a shot in the arm for people here to realize that we have so many assets," Roberts said.
Enterprise Florida, the state's marketing arm, has no immediate plans to capitalize on the victory with a marketing campaign. Spokeswoman Kim Prunty said the win might speak for itself.
Tampa's mayor echoed that thought.
"After what happened yesterday, I don't think you really have to recruit," Greco said. "Everybody knows where Tampa is now."
-- Times staff writers Mark Albright and Bryan Gilmer contributed to this report. Jeff Harrington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (813) 226-3407.
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