Indianapolis will seek to host its second Super Bowl in 2018 after a highly praised debut in 2012.
The city notified the NFL of its intentions Friday ahead of a news conference at which Gov. Mike Pence, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and civic leaders made the decision public at Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the 2012 Super Bowl.
“The collaboration that went into the 2012 Super Bowl and the success of the event has generated tremendous community support to pursue the 2018 event,” said Allison Melangton, Indiana Sports Corp. president and formerly the president/CEO of the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee. “After doing our due diligence on the 2018 bid landscape, the Super Bowl Host Committee board has enthusiastically decided to move forward with a 2018 bid.”
Indianapolis won broad praise for its hosting of Super Bowl XVII and drew hundreds of thousands of football fans to the city. Ballard said Friday the 2012 game is still having benefits for the city and that Indianapolis "set the standard" for future bidders.
However, wInning the 2018 game "is not a sure thing," Ballard cautioned. "There is plenty of work to do."
IBJ reported in July that the city was close to pulling the trigger on a bid for the 2018 game. At the time, Melangton said, “We’re carefully doing our homework. And if there are no red flags between now and August, it is our intent to bid.”
One issue bid organizers have been scrutinizing is which other cities will pursue bids. Among those believed to have a strong interest are Miami, New Orleans, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Tampa.
Friday's announcement is the first step in a bid process that is different from the one the city faced in 2012, Melangton said. The NFL will review the list of willing host cities and identify finalists that will be invited to formally bid in October. The 32 NFL owners will vote on the host city for the 2018 Super Bowl at their meeting in Atlanta next May.
Indianapolis won accolades for its hosting of the 2012 Super Bowl. City officials expect that positive experience to bolster the city’s chances of winning over NFL owners.
"We're going after the Super Bowl on the merits of our greatness and what we accomplished" in 2012, Irsay said.