Super Bowl to Have Extensive Security Despite Limited Fans

The U.S. government has classified Sunday’s Super Bowl as a high-risk event for terrorist threats and domestic extremists, even though in-person attendance will be limited because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Homeland Security said there will be 500 agency personnel securing the game in Tampa, Florida, in addition to agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, local law enforcement and the National Football League’s own security team.

The game between the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and the home-town Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been classified as a “Level 1” event using the federal government’s risk-assessment scale, meaning that it requires extensive interagency security support.

Previous Super Bowls and other large-scale sporting events, like the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500 motor race, also received the top risk rating.

“Not only is the Super Bowl an attractive target for terrorists and domestic violent extremists, but it also presents opportunities for human trafficking, the sale of counterfeit goods, and other criminal activities,” according to a DHS statement Saturday.

The game will be played in front of a limited crowd, with roughly 25,000 attendees in the 65,890-capacity Raymond James Stadium. Among the fans will be 7,500 vaccinated health care workers invited as guests by the NFL. Previous games played at larger arenas have had more than 100,000 fans on hand, with many multiples of that attending nearby events connected to the big game.

The game will air at 6:30 p.m. EST on CBS. The network is airing an interview with President Joe Biden around 4 p.m. A recorded video of Biden and first lady Jill Biden thanking health care workers and encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine will also air ahead of the game.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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