NFL American football team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Chicago Bears at its Raymond James Stadium as planned following Hurricane Irma.
The game will take place this Sunday as originally scheduled. The Buccaneers, in consultation with the NFL and the Tampa Sports Authority, had been waiting to assess the impact of Hurricane Irma on the area before making a final decision on the venue for the game.
“We have been working tirelessly with the Tampa Sports Authority, as well as the NFL league office, to ensure that Raymond James Stadium would be available to host our season opener against the Chicago Bears this Sunday.” said Buccaneers chief operating officer Brian Ford.
“Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days. We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season.”
The game will mark the Buccaneers’ season opener, and the third straight season that the Florida team has played host to the Bears.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, which spent three nights in Houston due to Hurricane Irma, will also play its home opener against the Tennessee Titans as scheduled on Sunday.
“It’s so important on so many different levels that we show the world that Jacksonville is open for business,” Jaguars president Mark Lamping said.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, said: “This is about bringing our city and community together. This is about getting back to normal operations.”
Earlier this week it emerged that Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins, will be inspected by structural engineers after a possible tornado was reported in the area during Hurricane Irma.
The stadium was constructed with a brand new canopy that was built to withstand Category 4 force winds. By the time Irma reached South Florida, however, the storm was not at that level of intensity.
Image: Keith Allison