Super letdown: Indianapolis loses bid for 2011 game

Andrea Muirragui
May 22, 2007
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NASHVILLE, Tenn.-National Football League owners today awarded Dallas the 2011 Super Bowl, dashing Indianapolis' hopes of strengthening its status as a sports powerhouse.

The 32 team owners voted by secret ballot following 15-minute presentations from representatives of North Texas, Arizona and Indianapolis. Owners of the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts also addressed their peers.

Late-night television star David Letterman offered up a pre-recorded "Top 10" list as part of Indianapolis' presentation. Among Letterman's reasons for giving his hometown the game? His mom will throw a "kick-ass" tailgate party.

Apparently, that wasn't enough.

The Super Bowl is the NFL's premiere event, attracting an estimated 100,000 visitors who spend more than $250 million in the host city. Indianapolis bid on the game in the early 1990s, but lost out to Minnesota.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said yesterday he thought Indianapolis' time had come, citing his family's longevity in the league-four decades by the time the 2011 game is played-and the team's contributions over the years.

"You have to pay your dues, be a good partner," he said. "It is our time."

His fellow owners disagreed, despite Indianapolis' efforts to demonstrate its ability to accommodate the Super Bowl. Once construction on the $675 million Lucas Oil Stadium began in 2005, city boosters went to work lining up hotel rooms, booking entertainment venues and raising the $20 million-plus they thought it would take to host the big game.

Before the vote, supporters said the city had a lot going for it, including nearly 7,000 downtown hotel rooms and experience hosting major events-from the 1987 Pan Am Games to the three massive car races held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway each year.

The North Texas bid included the possibility of more tangible benefits, including a new stadium under construction in Arlington that will seat nearly 30,000 more people than Indianapolis' new venue.

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