PICTURED ABOVE, JIM IRSAY IN AUGUST ANNOUNCING INDIANAPOLIS WOULD BID FOR SUPER BOWL LII
INDIANAPOLIS – What was announced in August took another step forward today as Indianapolis has been named a finalist to host Super Bowl LII in February of 2018.
Meeting today in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis was selected along with New Orleans and Minneapolis as the potential site for Super Bowl LII.
"Congrats to the great city of Indy for making it as a Super Bowl finalist," tweeted Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay from the league meetings, saying later, "considering the track record of our community, clearing this first phase is well deserved – but there is still much work to be done."
Irsay was on hand in Washington to throw his weight behind the local effort. When it was announced on August 30 Indianapolis would bid formally, Irsay lauded his city as the perfect site.
"Ever since the late 1970s and early 1980s, there have been unprecedented things done in the city and state, I can't emphasize that enough," said Irsay. "The type of hospitality and the way a city pulls together, we are the gold standard on how Super Bowls are run."
Irsay promised that day to put on a full blitz with 31 other NFL owners. He found the necessary targets, and now Indianapolis is closer to returning the crown jewel of American sports to Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I'm ready to call in as many favors as I have," said Irsay in August. "I really, really believe we're going to see another Super Bowl in Indianapolis."
Cities that issued applications to host Super Bowl LII in addition to Indianapolis, New Orleans and Minneapolis were Miami, Dallas and Tampa, according to NFL.com.
The Minneapolis bid is in conjunction with the opening of a new stadium for the Vikings, an estimated $975 million structure. New Orleans is trying to make the bid as part of th 300th anniversary of the city being founded. Ten Super Bowls have been played in New Orleans, one in Minneapolis.
The three finalists now will submit official bids. Bids will be handed to the NFL next April, and its owners would hear oral presentations in May prior to voting.
"These things are fundamentally broad community initiatives," said Mark Miles in August, a kingpin in the Super Bowl XLVI effort. "The most important element of a successful bid is the owner of the NFL franchise. Jim Irsay and the Colts are the gold standard for quality in the NFL.
"Jim's guidance through the years and his influence and the respect he has of his fellow owners was the most pivotal part of our success."
The New York Giants beat New England on February 2, 2012 in Super Bowl XLVI, but Indianapolis was among the big winners as well.
More than a billion people worldwide saw the game, with domestic viewership totaling 166.8 million.
The event had a tremendous local impact with an estimated $384 infused into the economy. Projections had 89 percent coming outside the city and about 84 percent staying within it.
Super Bowl XLVIII is being held this coming February 2 in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Phoenix (2015), San Francisco (2016) and Houston (2017) are next in order, and Indianapolis' bid makes it a "cold weather" site.
That should not be a hindrance because of the last effort expended by officials.
In August, Indiana Sports Corporation President Allison Melangton said preparing people for possible elements is the aggressive approach, and she said the Super Bowl Village that cast Indianapolis favorably in the international spotlight will return – even better.
"We hope (people) can look (at the city) and see the 'Epicenter of Awesome' is back," said Melangton. "That was our theme for the village (last time). That's what our plan is."