Organizers in Indianapolis plan to run a clean, positive campaign to win a bid for the 2018 Super Bowl.
Instead of focusing on the game-day seating problems that plagued Dallas two years ago or the power outage in New Orleans that forced a 34-minute delay during Sunday's game, Indiana Sports Corp. president Allison Melangton wants to tout why Indy would be the ideal choice to host its second Super Bowl this decade.
"That's not been our style," Melangton said Tuesday on the anniversary of the New York Giants' Super Bowl win in Indy. "Typically, when we've been bidding on all our events, we've pointed out why they should come to Indy and not why they should not go somewhere else, and it's worked for us. So why change now?"
Indy has a long and successful track record of hosting some of America's biggest sporting events.
In addition to last year's Super Bowl, the city has played host to the NBA Finals and an NBA All-Star Game; two AFC Championship games; the NFL's annual scouting combine; the men's and women's Final Fours; Olympics trials in swimming, diving, track and field and other sports; the Big Ten's football championship game and men's and women's basketball tournaments; and national championships in track and field, men's and women's swimming and gymnastics among other sports. It annually hosts the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 and has also hosted Formula One and motorcycle races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Plus, the city has played host to world championships in basketball and swimming.
Mayor Greg Ballard announced in July that the city hoped to turn the Super Bowl into at least a twice-in-a-lifetime event by bidding on the 2018 game.
Officials in New Orleans said over the weekend they also plan to bid on the 2018 game, hoping to use it as central part of the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. New Orleans has hosted 10 Super Bowls, tied with Miami for the most ever, and on Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised New Orleans for doing a "terrific" job and said that the power outage would have no effect on future bids made by the city.
If so, it would have to deal with the memories of ticket-holders not having seats on game day and an ice storm that slowed things during the week leading up to the game. Indianapolis pulled off its Super Bowl with no major glitches and surprisingly mild weather.
"I don't think that fact is lost on anyone," Melangton said. "We feel confident in the way we executed the game and how we make our next pitch."
Melangton was Indy's host committee president for the 2012 Super Bowl and is one of eight people working on the game plan. She did not provide details about what's in the bid, though she did say some specifics would be announced later and that she doesn't expect the cost to increase significantly over the last time when organizers raised $25 million privately before the owners' vote was held.
New Orleans, Dallas and Indy aren't expected to be the only contenders in 2018. Melangton said she believes Atlanta and Tampa, Fla., will bid on the game as well as at least one city that loses in this year's selection process. NFL owners are expected to choose host sites for the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls in May with Miami and San Francisco finalists for the 2016 game. The loser of that vote will be up against Houston for the 2017 game. If Houston loses the 2017 game, it could re-bid in 2018, though Melangton does not believe the NFL will keep two Texas cities on the list of 2018 finalists.
Melangton believes Minneapolis, which is scheduled to open a new domed stadium for the Vikings in 2016, also could make a pitch. And if next year's outdoor game in New Jersey proves successful, Melangton said it could open the door to other cold-climate cities without domed stadiums, such as Chicago.
The final vote is expected to come at the spring owners' meetings in 2014.
Indy lost the 2011 game to Dallas in a vote that was closer than expected and nearly seven months later announced it would re-bid on 2012, a vote the city won.
"We really feel like '18 is the right year for us, so we're really focused on '18. That's not to say if we didn't get it, we wouldn't regroup and re-bid on '19 or '20," Melangton said. "We don't intend to pull it (the bid) at all. ... But we want to make sure we're positioned to win, and if not, we might pull it."