N.O. loses Super Bowl LII bid to Minneapolis

Though its football team had done so at the end of the 2009 season, this time, New Orleans could not defeat both Indianapolis and Minnesota to win a Super Bowl.

New Orleans’ bid to host Super Bowl LII in 2018 was defeated Tuesday by a bid from from Minnesota, which was home to its only NFL title game in 1992, the league announced at a meeting in Atlanta.

New Orleans was trying to host a record 11th Super Bowl and break a tie with the city of Miami, and it was trying to improve its mark in bidding for the big game to 11-0.

The other finalist for Super Bowl LII was Indianapolis, which hosted its first Super Bowl in 2012.

It’ll be irresistible for many to speculate that a 35-minute delay in play at Super Bowl XLVII in February of 2013 as a result of a power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome cost New Orleans’ its chance to host the big game again. However, local organizers have repeatedly countered that New Orleans wouldn’t have been a finalist for the 2018 Super Bowl if owners had not gotten over that.

Minneapolis’ bid, a surprising winner as New Orleans had been considered the front-runner, pitched putting the 2018 Super Bowl at the center of a celebration of winter in the region. There should be tie-ins with the winter carnival in adjacent St. Paul; outdoor fire pits; and heated canopies along downtown streets to keep visiting fans warm until kickoff in a futuristic, $1 billion stadium being built to open in time for the Vikings’ 2016 campaign.

Early reaction credited the fact that half of the funding for that stadium was derived from public money for lifting Minneapolis over New Orleans for Super Bowl LII. New Orleans’ organizers said the NFL has a history of rewarding Super Bowls to cities that build or renovate stadiums with public money.

They noted that was to New Orleans’ advantage for Super Bowl XLVII, which was given to the city in 2009 after it pumped hundreds of millions of dollars to refurbish the Superdome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina about four years earlier.

That bid was led by a committee whose members included Richard Davis, chairman and CEO of U.S. Bank, and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, retired chairwoman and CEO of Carlson Companies. After the vote, Davis thanked Minneapolis’ taxpayers heartily in an interview with NFL Network.

Meanwhile, in its bid, Indianapolis had been playing up the universally-praised job it did hosting the 2012 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium. That’s when it pioneered the concept now known as Super Bowl Boulevard, a free outdoor entertainment and merchandise area.

Indiana Sports Corp., headed by president Allison Melangton, led the bid to return the Super Bowl to Lucas Oil Stadium.

New Orleans’ bid partly centered around making the Super Bowl a focal point of festivities celebrating the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding in 1718. It was spearheaded by Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Senior Vice President Sam Joffray, and the bid’s presentation Tuesday was delivered by both Rod West — chief administrative officer and executive vice president of Entergy — and Stephen Perry, the head of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Others in attendance at the meeting on behalf of New Orleans were Saints owner Tom Benson; Rita Benson LeBlanc, the team’s co-owner and vice chairwoman of the board; Dennis Lauscha, the organization’s president; and General Manager Mickey Loomis. Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President Jay Cicero; Ron Forman, a Louisiana Sports and Exposition District board member; and Andy Kopplin — the chief administrative officer for Mayor Mitch Landrieu — were there as well.

As Tom Benson did despite undergoing knee surgery recently, the owners of Minneapolis’ and Indianapolis’ NFL franchises lobbied support for their home city’s bid.

The Vikings are owned by Zygi and Mark Wilf. The Colts are owned by Jim Irsay, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in March and entered rehabilitation treatment ahead of Tuesday’s meeting in Atlanta.

The next three Super Bowls will be held in Glendale, Arizona (2015); San Francisco (2016); and Houston (2017). Minneapolis defeated New Orleans after three rounds of voting, in which a city needed only a simple majority to triumph.

Indianapolis was defeated after the second round of voting, in which the city with the fewest votes for their bid was eliminated if neither of the other two commanded a super majority.