UPDATE: Irsay vows to land Super Bowl another day

Andrea Muirragui
May 22, 2007
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NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Indianapolis will get a Super Bowl, Colts owner Jim Irsay said today. When is another matter.

NFL owners voted this afternoon to play the 2011 game at the 100,000-seat Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The decision, which Irsay said came down to a 17-15 vote, dashed Indianapolis' hopes of strengthening its status as a sports powerhouse-for now.

"I believe we certainly we will get it," Irsay said. "There's no question I'm up for it."

Others involved in the months-long ramp up to today's presentation and vote weren't as quick to start planning the next bid. Baker & Daniels partner Fred Glass, who led the Indianapolis 2011 effort, said it's too soon to make any decision on what comes next.

Although he's disappointed, Glass said he's confident Indianapolis did everything it could to sway the owners.

"I'm proud of our team, of our city, and I'm at peace with the result," he said. "We didn't have any more to give."

Irsay suspects the size of Dallas' new stadium-which has about 25,000 more seats and 25 more suites than Lucas Oil Stadium-was a deciding factor.

"Obviously, we were in an unusual situation going up against a stadium in Dallas that has that sort of capacity," he said.

After the vote, he said, other team owners encouraged Indianapolis to try again, telling him "you can get this thing."

Bid requirements for the 2012 game are expected to be released in the fall. But making another bid would mean starting over when it comes to lining up hotel rooms, identifying entertainment venues and raising money to stage the event.

Glass said the bid committee raised more than $25 million from private sources to cover costs associated with hosting the big game-the first time a city has lined up support before the owners vote. Indianapolis' decision to eschew public funding also was unusual.

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. Letterman's No. 1 reason 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 1992 game, but lost out to Minnesota.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expects "upwards of a quarter-million people" to converge on the Dallas area for the 2011 game, given the size of the stadium and the number of fans who show up even though they can't get in the game.

He also credited Texas' strong football tradition, promising to "Be good soldiers and make sure we do everything we can to make this the best Super Bowl ever."

Before the vote, Indianapolis boosters 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.

Glass said he remains proud of the city and the effort it put into the Super Bowl bid.

"I'll get over the hurt of this fairly soon," he said, "and bask in the good feeling of what a great city Indianapolis really has become."

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