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Bowl billboards in your face at every turn

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 22, 2001

Super Bowl billboards are everywhere.

Tampa International Airport has one on the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and N Dale Mabry Highway. Smirnoff's touts the MVP of Vodkas. Home Shopping Network's offer NFL gear.

And coming to an intersection near you: Ravens! About a dozen billboards supporting the AFC champions will go up around Tampa Bay, including one at One Buc Place.

Then, there's the umpteen billboards the beer companies are putting up, especially for Super Bowl XXXV.

Budweiser has 15, Miller, 77; Corona, 4. Coors recently requested two.

"It's beer wars," said Patti Blass, general manager of Infinity Outdoor. Even the billboard companies admit it is a lot.

"You cannot drive anywhere without being inundated with it," says John Ricci, vice president of regional sales in Florida for Eller Media Co., a billboard company.

It wasn't like this in Atlanta, at last year's Super Bowl, said Ricci.

The reason for the onslaught: Tampa Bay doesn't have a mass transit system. "This is a driving person city," he said. And advertisers know that.

Local personalities to take part in parade

Look for Tom Joyner, radio personality, on the WTMP Radio of Time float in Saturday's Gasparilla parade. Also, Bertie Higgins, the Tarpon Springs native who gave the world Key Largo and Just Another Day in Paradise, will be on the Thieves of San Lorenzo float with his band.

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Today's Super Bowl story lineup

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