Just months after playing host to its 10th Super Bowl, New Orleans has taken a major step towards landing a record No. 11 in the city’s tricentennial year of 2018.
The NFL on Tuesday announced that New Orleans along with Indianapolis and Minneapolis have been invited to bid for Super Bowl LII.
‘Invited to bid” is NFL parlance for finalist. The winning city to be announced at the league’s 2014 spring meeting in Atlanta.
“The competition is always fierce for a Super Bowl, and we expect this one to be no less than before,” said Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President Jay Cicero, whose group will organize the local task force for the event. “But we’ll put our best heads together and make it clear that the formula of a celebration like no other and the 300th anniversary of our city will make this come to fruition.”
Tuesday’s announcement was made at the fall owners meeting in Washington, D.C. Miami, which is tied with New Orleans for the most Super Bowls with 11, Dallas and Tampa were the other cities seeking the invitation to bid.
Saints owner Tom Benson appeared before the Super Bowl subcommittee both Monday and Tuesday to make the local presentation. The committee then passed along its recommendations to the entire ownership group.
“Kudos to Mr. Benson,” Cicero said. “I wasn’t there in the room, but what he said must have been very persuasive.”
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said that was the case. “In an owners-only meeting, Mr. Benson gave a very impassioned speech about the virtues of New Orleans hosting the Super Bowl, especially during our 2018 tricentennial,” he said. “During his tenure as an NFL owner one of the hallmarks has been his desire to bring Super Bowls to New Orleans.
“That’s really his legacy. He loves going to battle for his city.”
And, as Cicero pointed out, it will be a battle.
Indianapolis played host to the 2012, one year before the latest one in New Orleans.
Colts Owner Jim Irsay said in an interview with NFL Media’s Albert Breer on Monday, he felt it was one of the best.
“Indianapolis really is a unique Midwestern city that, quite frankly, can do it better than any other place in the country,” Irsay said.
Minneapolis will have its new domed stadium for the Vikings opened by 2018 and the NFL has a history of rewarding cities with new stadiums with Super Bowls, such as the upcoming one in New York and the 2017 game at the San Francisco 49ers new facility.
Minneapolis’ only previous time to play host to a Super Bowl was in 1992.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said landing SB LII in the city’s tricentennial year would be a major coup.,
“As we mark our 300th anniversary, and we’d love to celebrate by having the Super Bowl return to New Orleans for the 11th time,” he said. “I have no doubt that if we’re chosen, our tourism industry, our business community and our citizens will once again rise to the challenge and present the world with another spectacular Super Bowll.”
Cicero said while the city’s tricentennial was a point of emphasis in Benson’s presentation, New Orleans’ performance in playing host to this year’s game’s is a major consideration, especially many of the people would be involved as opposed to the 11-year gap before Super Bowl XLVII.
“The lessons learned from this year’s game will be fresh for us,” he said. “Our relationships are still in place and are strong.
“There is never any doubt about our ability to host a major event. Our track record proves that.”
And as for the power blackout which halted play in SB XLVII for 40 minutes, Cicero said, “That won’t be an issue.”
Mark Romig, head of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp said the economic impact and exposure value of a Super Bowl is enormous.
“We had 5,000 media from around the world the week of the 47th Super Bowl and what we discovered is that there’s the sports story but then there’s also the story of New Orleans and the regional and the renaissance that we’ve been through over the past eight years” he said. “That story went around the world.”
“From a tourism standpoint, our job at the marketing corporation is to promote New Orleans as a leisure destination and we do that with limited resources. We don’t have the huge budget that our competitive set has, so an event like this helps us stretch our promotional dollars.”
Landing Super Bowl LII would be the crown jewel of a hoped-for three year sequence of major sports events.
The city is seeking the College Football Playoff championship game in 2016 and the Final Four in 2017. The CFP site will be announced in November with the Final Four site expected to be announced in November. 2014.