Super Bowl bid strengthens

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The winds of optimism are blowing toward Indianapolis when it comes to hosting the 2012 Super Bowl.

New Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard this week plans to announce that Central Indiana Corporate Partnership CEO Mark Miles will lead an effort to study whether bidding for the Super Bowl makes sense for Indianapolis. If all goes well, Miles is expected to spearhead the city’s efforts to gain National Football League owners’ support for the bid.

Miles, who was instrumental in the city’s attracting the 1987 Pan Am Games, carries quite a bit of clout in the sports world. Before his current post, Miles spent 15 years as CEO of the Association of Tennis Professionals.

NFL owners are hesitant to comment publicly on cities’ chances to host a Super Bowl. Privately, several team executives said they feel Indianapolis has a much better chance this time around.

“I wasn’t optimistic about their 2011 bid, but I think they have a real shot at the 2012 bid,” said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based Sportscorp Ltd., which advises several NFL teams on operations. “The competition this time around just isn’t as tough. I mean, with Dallas’ new stadium and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ behind it, (earning the bid to host the 2011 Super Bowl) would have been tough for any city.”

While Miles is a solid point person, Ganis said he won’t be the most critical person in the city’s corner.

“The weather in Indianapolis will always be a problem, but I think it will come to a point where the NFL owners will say, “Hey, there’s a reason we’re doing this. And that reason is to pay back Jim Irsay for what he’s done for the league. Jim’s clout is still on the rise in the NFL, and that will help their bid.”

Houston and Phoenix are the other primary contenders for the game. New Orleans is another city that has expressed interest, but the city must prove it can handle the event in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, league sources said.

Team owners are scheduled to meet in May in Atlanta to make their decision on the 2012 host city.

What do you think Indianapolis’ chances are of hosting the big game in 2012?

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