ATLANTA - NFL owners have chosen Indianapolis to host the 2012 Super Bowl.
The 32 team owners meeting here today picked Indianapolis over Houston and Phoenix, which hosted the 2004 and 2008 Super Bowls, respectively.
Indianapolis officials had gone to great lengths to secure the 25,000 hotel rooms required by league bid specifications. They also hammered home the city's strengths, including downtown connectivity and history of hosting big events, from the 1987 Pan Am Games to the Indianapolis 500 and NCAA men's basketball Final Fours.
Indianapolis also came up with $25 million in corporate and individual support to fund various Super Bowl operations, including event hosting, transportation and building a practice facility. NFL sources said Indianapolis has more money secured to host the 2012 Super Bowl than either Phoenix or Houston.
In the end, those strengths - along with the rising clout of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay among his peers - carried the day.
The score will be no small prize for the city. Sports economists estimate that more than 250,000 visitors will descend on Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI, with the game carrying a $300 million to $400 million economic impact.
A local contingent led by Central Indiana Corporate Partnership President Mark Miles and Irsay was exuberant about the decision.
This was Indianapolis' third run at hosting the big game. The city in 1989 lost out to another cold weather market, Minneapolis, for the 1992 Super Bowl. Last year, Indianapolis was a leading candidate to host the 2011 Super Bowl, but lost that bid in a 17-15 vote to Dallas, after Phoenix was eliminated in earlier voting by owners.
City and Colts officials reminded NFL officials that former league commissioner Paul Tagliabue all but promised Indianapolis a Super Bowl if local officials stepped up with a public-private financing plan for the $725 million retractable roof Lucas Oil Stadium. Apparently, current commissioner Roger Goodell remembered that commitment.
This story will be updated at www.IBJ.com.