Phoenix, Houston take aim at Indy

As of noon, the IBJ reporting team (that’s me) has officially touched down in the Buckhead district of Atlanta where the 32 National Football League owners will decide which of three bidding cities will host the 2012 Super Bowl. While Indianapolis is the pre-game favorite, league sources in the lobby as I checked in said they expect exceptionally strong presentations from Phoenix and Houston.

Phoenix and Houston have hosted the Super Bowl before, and officials from both cities in Atlanta this week are saying they have learned from their experiences and will give a better bid with enhanced amenities this time. Phoenix and Houston officials said their bids this time around will be significantly slicker than the years that they won the bid. It appears that if Indy is to win, the local bid committee must improve even on last year, when the Circle City lost a 17-15 vote to Dallas.

It felt a bit like home when I arrived today. I was greeted by trucks from every Indy television station in the parking lot of the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton, with several local set-up crews busily working in the media room.

Stay tuned to The Score today, tomorrow and Wednesday as I intend to scout around for the latest news regarding these meetings. Later today, The Score will not only discuss the Super Bowl presentations and owner voting—which takes place tomorrow, but also report on the owners negotiations with the players union, which will determine future salary caps and have a major impact on small market teams’ ability to remain competitive. Indianapolis Colts officials said team owner Jim Irsay has his attention honed closely on that issue as well as the Super Bowl bid.

And no, just because I’m in Atlanta, doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the Indianapolis 500. Later today, I will post a report on this site about the sponsorship situation of the 33 qualified teams and what this means for the Indy Racing League. One thing was certain yesterday at the famed Brickyard, the crowds were sparse. Very sparse for a bump day.

Nor has it escaped me, that tomorrow is the National Basketball Association lottery to see in which order the teams that didn’t make the playoffs will draft. The Pacers will either draft No. 1, 2 or 3 … or No. 11, 12, 13 or 14. Check back with The Score to see which way the Pacers might—or might not—draft, depending on which pick they get.

So please stay tuned, this report will be updated. Also check www.IBJ.com often, as we will post breaking news there the next two days.

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