Fierce competition for Super Bowl host cities

Indiana Sports Corporation officials are watching closely to see which cities will be awarded Super Bowls L and LI next week, a decision that will impact the field of competing cities for Super Bowl LII in 2018.

Local officials announced last year that they were interested in bidding on Super Bowl LII, though Indianapolis will likely face some stiff competition for the game if they officially decide to place a bid for the game later this year.

New stadiums are being built in San Francisco and in Minneapolis – which just unveiled plans this week for a domed stadium with a clear glass roof designed by the same team that built Lucas Oil Stadium.

“It puts them into the competition, no doubt,” said Kim Donahue, a sports business expert from IU’s Kelley School of Business.

Also in the running: New Orleans, which hosted the Super Bowl this past year and dealt with a 35-minute power outage during the game. Then there’s Miami, which had been in the running for future games until Florida lawmakers decided against a plan to fund a new stadium in that city.

“That increased our chances quite a bit,” said Donahue.

Still, the experts think it’s a wide open field.

“It’s becoming very competitive, and the stakes are rising in terms of what people need to provide,” said Dan McQuiston, Butler University sports marketing professor.

“The new stadiums have an impact, but there’s two sides to this. You have kind of the economic side, but there’s the other side I’ll call the non-business side, which asks ‘Do you have the experience and how are you to work with?'”

“Indianapolis set the bar for host cities,” said Donahue. “We surpassed anybody in the past and we set new standards for everybody going forward.”

Local fans hope Indianapolis is able to land the game again soon.

“If you look at Super Bowl XLVI, the media around the country said it was the most connected and most well-hosted Super Bowl ever,” said local football fan Dave Neff. “So I think we have a great shot of getting it again in 2018.”

Sports Corp officials did not want to speculate Wednesday on the NFL’s decision process. But here’s what we know: NFL owners will vote on the host cities for 2016 and 2017 next Tuesday. Then, local officials will get together in early June to size up the competition and officially decide whether Indianapolis will place a bid on the 2018 game. That bid would likely be due later this year, with a decision from the NFL expected sometime next year.

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