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Understanding the 'Tom Brady effect' in Tampa Bay after his retirement

Some in the Bay Area wonder how his departure could affect the boom in business and tourism in recent years.

TAMPA, Fla — Days after Tom Brady's retirement, some in the Tampa Bay area wonder what legacy the G.O.A.T. leaves behind.

Bay area leaders acknowledge the "Brady effect" had a significant impact on business and tourism when he signed with the Buccaneers in 2020. 

Now, some wonder how his departure could affect the recent boom.

"You keep that momentum going, you keep the wheels turning," Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, said. 

As thousands flocked to Raymond James Stadium for Monster Jam on Saturday, attendees came in with thanks in mind for the now-retired NFL superstar.

Fans reflected on the spotlight Brady put on Tampa Bay with hopes the light continues to shine.

"It's always hard when you lose someone like Tom Brady," Matt Huffman of Dunedin said. "I'd like to think many people would still come."

Visitors contributed $4.5 billion in 2021, according to Visit Tampa Bay. It generated indirect and induced impact resulting in a total impact of $7.1 billion to Hillsborough County. 

Brady also brought about some of the busiest days of business for sports bars like American Social in Tampa. Local businesses like Heads & Tails, a sports merchandise store in Tampa, said Brady's arrival in Tampa triggered a spike in business. 

"It just blew up, I mean, people came out of the woodwork and just wanted to participate in sports at the time," Owner Stephen Sherman said. 

With Brady's exit, Corrado said he hopes Tampa Bay continues to build off of the legacy he left behind.

Corrado said prior to Tampa Bay's victorious night at home from the Super Bowl in 2021, the area was already gaining momentum.

"It's a work in progress always," Corrada said. "It's just another chapter in our book and a great chapter, and we have other great chapters to write."

However, fans add aside from being a vacation destination, one must not ignore other factors that put Tampa Bay on the map including the Lightning's back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.

Others attribute Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' loose COVID-19 restrictions as contributions to the population boom in recent years. 

In 2022, Zillow ranked Tampa as the hottest housing market of the year.

During 2021, the area was still gaining momentum but its ability to offer the same outdoor amenities, like Miami or other hot markets at lower prices, only helped attract more residents, Nicole Bachaud, Zillow senior economist, said. 

Regardless of what happens, loyal Bucs fans are reassured they will still have the team's back, with or without Brady.

"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a good following before him, and I think it's gonna continue after that," Brooke Hannigan said.

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