Jan. 29, 2009 — -- It's the day football fans dream about year-round. Friends and family gather around miniature hot dogs and beer kegs to be together, share quality time or just scream wildly at their television sets.
It's the Super Bowl, and for those lucky enough to be there, the parties flanking the big game are usually nothing short of legendary.
Except this year, when many of them are nothing short of canceled.
In these recessionary times, corporate America is shying away from many of the legendary extravaganzas of Super Bowls past. And this year's host city, Tampa, Fla., is feeling the brunt of it.
The annual Playboy Super Bowl party? Canceled.
Last year, a ticket to the bunny-laden celebration ran around $2,000 and was hosted by Grammy-winning rapper Common, according to Time magazine. Not this year.
The Brooks & Dunn Golf Classic celebrity golf tournament? Canceled. It couldn't get enough sponsors, or stars, to attend.
The Sports Illustrated party? Canceled.
Even the National Football League is feeling the hard times: Prices of some Super Bowl tickets have been cut 25 percent, and the league is about to lay off 150 employees.
"The Super Bowl is certainly not immune to the effects of the recent economic downturn," Amanda Holt, spokeswoman for Tampa Bay's Super Bowl host committee, told the St. Petersburg Times.
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Super Bowl 43 will still bring Tampa around $150 million in direct spending -- but that's $45 million less than the previous two Super Bowls.
Traveling in style to the game has also taken a back seat to traveling in budget.
"We're hurting like everyone else," Nate McKelvey, CEO of the charter jet company Jets.com, told "Good Morning America."
McKelvey said he booked 55 clients to fly to the Super Bowl in Phoenix last year. But after cutting prices by 30 percent, he's still only got 17 clients so far.
Where's the Big Super Bowl Party?
Some might be left thinking Tampa got a raw deal, landing the biggest party of the year at a time when people aren't in the mood for partying, but that's not the way Tampa sees it.
The expected $150 million take is still more than the game brought to Detroit in 2006, Jacksonville in 2005 or Houston in 2004.
And the game itself is sold-out.
"This is our chance in this particular economy to really get a great boost," Reid Sigmon, executive director of the Tampa Bay host committee, told "GMA." "It means more right now that hotels get this business at the higher rates they're going to get. The restaurants are full."
These days, it seems the Tampa Bay area will take anything it can get.