INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis wants to host the Super Bowl in 2018 after winning praise for its handling of the NFL’s showcase event in 2012.
The city notified the NFL of its intentions Friday ahead of a news conference at which Gov. Mike Pence, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and civic leaders made the decision public at Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the 2012 Super Bowl.
Indianapolis won broad praise for that effort, drawing hundreds of thousands of football fans to the city amid concerns about hosting the game and its many festivities in a “cold weather” location. Ballard said Friday the 2012 game is still having benefits for the city.
“We are the gold standard on how Super Bowls are run,” Irsay said Friday.
Former Colts player Jeff Saturday echoed that sentiment, saying that friends on the New York Giants and New England Patriots, the teams that played in the 2012 game, raved about their experience in the city.
“The excitement they had in their voices really encouraged me that our city was doing it right,” Saturday said.
“It doesn’t get better than we did it in Indianapolis” in 2012, he added. “I look forward to 2018 beating the one we did before.”
Friday’s announcement is the first step in a bid process that is different from the one the city faced in 2012, said Allison Melangton, Indiana Sports Corp president and chairwoman of the 2018 Super Bowl Bid Committee board of directors.
She said the NFL will review the list of cities and identify finalists that will be invited to formally bid in October. The 32 NFL owners will vote on the host city for the 2018 Super Bowl at their meeting in Atlanta next May.
Other bids could come from Denver, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Miami.
Indianapolis faces a hurdle as a “cold weather” city — the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls will be hosted by Phoenix, San Francisco and Houston, respectively — but Melangton said the owners might be ready for a change after three straight years of warmer climes.
The Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis, and the zip line that flew fans overhead, won big praise from players, media, celebrities and many other national figures. The bid team plans to keep secret the details of how it will woo the owners with their new plan, but Melangton said they will find a way to outdo the zip line.
A public part of their pitch, she said, will be raising $30 million from corporate donors. That’s up from the $25 million the Super Bowl host committee raised for the 2012 festivities.
Ballard touted the economic impact of drawing big-spending fans from all over the nation. But there’s still some question of whether the event is a net boon or loss for the host city.
The event cost the city money in overtime, new signs and equipment and other additional services. An Indianapolis Star report last year found the city lost about $1.3 million after factoring in about $3 million in increased tax collections and $4 million in reimbursements from the NFL. Melangton argued the costs had been “mischaracterized by the media.”