Despite a mammoth effort by city leaders, which included raising $25 million from the corporate community, Indianapolis lost
to Dallas the right to host the 2011 Super Bowl.
Not even a hand-delivered bid by Capital Improvement Board President Fred Glass and a presentation city leaders called "interactive and unique" could overcome the allure of hosting the Super Bowl in Dallas' new $1 billion stadium, which is set to open in 2009.
The Colts had their own new stadium to flaunt, with the $700 million Lucas Oil Stadium set to open in September 2008. But insiders said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' clout and the specter of holding the Super Bowl in a larger metropolitan area won the day for Dallas.
After National Football League owners eliminated Glendale, Ariz., from consideration for the game, they voted 17-15 for Dallas over Indianapolis, despite intense lobbying by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and Mayor Bart Peterson.
Peterson was committed to bidding for the 2012 game, and Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association leaders in December said they were ramping up for the effort.
But Mayor-elect Greg Ballard, who defeated Peterson in the November election, signaled he hasn't made up his mind.
"We absolutely want to do it ... but there may be demands the NFL has included that mean we can't do it," said Ballard spokesman Robert Vane on Dec. 12.
Vane said ICVA's announcement about the decision to bid for the 2012 Super Bowl was done "completely solo with no coordination with us."
Tempering the disappointment of team officials was their excitement over winning Super Bowl XLI in South Florida in February.
In the wake of the victory, Colts officials reported that traffic on the team's Internet site and sales at the team's locally owned pro shop saw strong double-digit percentage increases.
Meanwhile, the team quickly sold out all 140 suites at the new stadium, with a waiting list growing to 60, team officials said. Those suites cost $40,000 to $250,000 per season.
In addition to landing Lucas Oil as the stadium's title sponsor, the Colts sales staff has scored 12 venue sponsorships, including stadium gates, the four corners, and suite- and club-level sponsorships that are projected to bring in $10 million annually.