News Column

2018 Super Bowl Appears Headed to Indianapolis

August 26, 2013
The NFL is expected to award its Super Bowl bids this week.
The NFL is expected to award its Super Bowl bids this week.

The Super Bowl Host Committee will decide by Friday whether to pursue a bid for Super Bowl LII in 2018 and so far sees nothing that would deter Indianapolis from trying for a repeat performance.

"No red flags at this point," said Allison Melangton, president of the Indiana Sports Corp and a leader of the host committee.

In an exclusive interview with The Indianapolis Star, Melangton and Scott Dorsey, chairman of the sports corporation, said they will apply only if they think they can win the bid.

"We're doing a lot of homework," she said. "The decision to move forward is not to be made lightly."

Mayor Greg Ballard appears confident the city can succeed with another Super Bowl bid, particularly given the positive reviews it received for hosting the event in 2012. Reached by phone, Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter echoed the Indiana Sports Corp.'s sentiment that "no red flags" had emerged.

"Mayor Ballard is confident that should the city decide to bid, we would be an excellent host for the 2018 Super Bowl," Lotter said.

The next four Super Bowl cities already are determined. New Jersey will host the event next year, followed by Phoenix; Santa Clara, Calif.; and Houston.

The NFL's deadline for potential host cities to submit a letter of intent for the 2018 Super Bowl is midnight Friday. The NFL would reveal a short list of finalists by October. The winner would be announced in May.

Minnesota and Atlanta could complicate matters for an Indianapolis bid because those cities will soon open new stadiums.

Minnesota's new Viking Stadium will open in 2016, but team owner Zygmunt "Zygi" Wilf's chances may have been hurt earlier this month when a judge found in a civil suit filed by business partners that Wilf committed fraud, breach of contract, a breach of fiduciary duty and violated the state's civil racketeering statute.

Atlanta's stadium is scheduled to open in 2017, with only a year to prepare for Super Bowl LII.

Other potential bidders for the 2018 game are New Orleans, Denver and South Florida.

Should Indianapolis choose not to bid in 2018 -- or lose out to another city -- another Super Bowl could be years away. Melangton believes it unlikely Indianapolis would win in 2019 and 2020 with those two new stadiums open.

"I think that there's a lot more complicated factors for 2019 and beyond," she said. "Two other stadiums will be done. The LA stadium, which has always been circulating, will be figured out by then. ... The stars would have to really align for us to apply."

Indianapolis basked in the national spotlight when it hosted Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. More than 1.1 million fans flocked to the Super Bowl Village over 10 days, and celebrities flooded Downtown like never before.

Event organizers estimated at the time that the city gained $176 million in direct economic impact and more than 250 hours of national and international television.

If the city hosts another Super Bowl, Dorsey and Melangton promise to elevate the experience to new heights.

"I think we'd have to put a lot of creativity and energy in making it different, special, unique," said Dorsey, CEO at ExactTarget.

The Indiana Sports Corp. also told The Star it was considering bids for gymnastics, diving and wrestling Olympic Trials in 2016, future NCAA tournaments for basketball, rowing and lacrosse, and future Big Ten football and basketball championships.


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Source: (c)2013 The Indianapolis Star Distributed by MCT Information Services