Pandemic, Legal Sports Betting Make Super Bowl LV First Of Its Kind

From COVID restrictions to legal sports betting in Michigan, The Athletic’s Bill Shea explains why Super Bowl LV will be truly unique.

Kansas City and Tampa Bay will face off this weekend in Super Bowl LV, but this year’s event will be significantly different compared to years past. The 25,000 fans allowed in Raymond James Stadium will be outnumbered by 30,000 cutouts, and The Weeknd is set to perform his halftime show in the stands to keep within COVID-19 protocols. The only real constant fans can count on  is Tom Brady, who will be appearing in his 10th Super Bowl.

“You’re right about sports betting being ubiquitous now. I don’t know that it will radically change audience numbers, but it’s a revenue source for the teams, the leagues and the companies.” — Bill Shea, The Athletic 

The recent legalization of sports betting in Michigan will also affect how Michiganders watch the game. Many people see legal sports betting as a negative change or a passing fad. Others may be inclined to gamble more with increased accessibility. 

Listen: Bill Shea shares his predictions for Super Bowl LV.

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET


Bill Shea is senior writer for The Athletic. He says he doesn’t have a strong allegiance to either team in the game, but he’s looking to see how it plays out between the famed quarterbacks. “Tom Brady is in the twilight of his career. He’s talking about playing until he’s 45, but sometimes time hits like a brick wall,” he says. Shea has higher hopes for Pat Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, who he singles out as “clearly the face of the new generation of quarterbacks.” 

Shea doesn’t think legal sports betting in Michigan will draw any extra viewers to the game, “You’re right about sports betting being ubiquitous now… I don’t know that it will radically change audience numbers… but it’s a revenue source for the teams, the leagues and the companies.”  

As far as which team will win this year, Shea predicts the Kansas City Chiefs will remain victorious. “Kansas City is ridiculously talented… they are not perfect but if they play their game, they will win.” 

Web story written by Nora Rhein. 

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date

WDET is here to keep you informed on essential information, news and resources related to COVID-19.

This is a stressful, insecure time for many. So it’s more important than ever for you, our listeners and readers, who are able to donate to keep supporting WDET’s mission. Please make a gift today.

Donate today »



  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.