Hurricane Ian is threatening events in the southeast part of the country, but Tampa Bay’s mayor is firm on keeping the game in town.
Sporting events in the southeastern region of the United States are facing cancellation, relocation, or, at the very least, lots of inclement weather thanks to Hurricane Ian. The marquee Sunday Night matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is one of them.
Category 4 Hurricane Ian hit land on Wednesday on the Western Coast of Florida. Downgraded quickly to a tropical storm, it could pick up steam and be re-classified as a hurricane according to ABC News. The New York Times model predicts it will become a category 1 hurricane again as it crosses Florida and goes back across the Atlantic Ocean before hitting land on the East Cost.
The city of Tampa wants to keep the game in-town despite the chance for bad weather. The mayor, Jane Castor, Tweeted that she’s working with the NFL to keep the game at the original venue, with some spice on it!:
Some college football games have already been moved, including UCF vs SMU which will be played on Sunday. Notably, South Florida vs Eastern Carolina was set to play at Raymond James on Saturday afternoon and has been moved to a different location.
Hurricane Ian could threaten Chiefs-Bucs in Tampa, but NFL has backup plans
By Sunday the eye of the storm is expected to be far north of Tampa Bay, with the eye having already passed the Western coast of Florida after falling there on Wednesday.
That doesn’t mean things are all clear, though, as lasting effects of the storm’s passing could linger throughout the weekend.
The NYT tracker suggests between 30 and 40% of the customers in the Bay area are without power. The city could have bigger problems in storm cleanup, and the NFL might not want to be perceived as a distraction in the fallout of the storm.
Still, there’s plenty of time between now and Sunday night, so the game could be in the clear.
If the game needs to be moved, the NFL is eyeing U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as a contingency site, an indoor venue. The Vikings play in London this week on early Sunday morning for those of us viewing stateside.
All signs, for now, point to the game going on as scheduled in Tampa.