Local leaders letting glow from 2012 Super Bowl fade

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While the sporting world is ramping up for the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, Indianapolis officials are happy to let the sun set on the game played here last year.

Following last year’s Super Bowl featuring the New England Patriots and New York Giants, many team owners and NFL executives crowed that Indianapolis was the best host city ever.

The playbook written in large part by 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Allison Melangton is sitting in her office collecting dust. And Melangton, now the Indiana Sports Corp. president, would like it to stay that way.

Though Melangton has been tagged to lead the effort to bring the Super Bowl back to Indianapolis in 2018, she has no plans to take a page—or even a paragraph—from the 2012 bid.

The 2012 initiative used ground-breaking techniques that included using local eighth-grade students to hand deliver the bid and an offering of St. Elmo’s famous shrimp cocktail. Indianapolis’ 2012 Super Bowl bid was the first delivered by hand, not by mail. Many of the eight-graders detailed why their home would be a good one for the Super Bowl.

Those eye-opening efforts helped Indianapolis fend off strong bids from Houston and Phoenix. The New York Times wrote that the NFL owners were “smitten” with Indianapolis after its homespun, hand-delivered bid for the 2012 Super Bowl.

Despite the success of those tactics, Melangton thinks local officials need to go back to the drawing board.

“We don’t want to fall back into what we just did,” Melangton said. “We need to let the glow fade a bit on our last bid. Our next bid needs to be refreshing.”

Indianapolis sports marketer David Morton said the city set the bar so high with its 2012 bid, lots of people are wondering what the local bid committee will do for an encore.

“People are asking what the next big wow is going to be to bring the Super Bowl back,” Morton said. “I think that could become a big story.”

The bids for the 2018 Super Bowl are due in May, 2014. The local host committee headed by Melangton will start working on the bid in June or July, she said.

“We don’t really have any specific ideas for the [2018 Super Bowl] bid yet,” Melangton said. “We wanted to shelve the old plan and take a deep breath first before we came back at this.”

That doesn’t mean the 2018 Super Bowl isn’t top of mind for Melangton. Next week, she’ll be in New Orleans, where she’ll attend NFL-led meetings for leaders of cities that are hosting or interested in hosting a future Super Bowl.

“They update everyone on if there are changes to the bid requirements,” said Indiana Sports Corp. spokesman John Dedman. “Allison will be there to stay current on the requirements as well as what other cities have in their plans.”

Melangton will no doubt watch to see what this year’s host city does right and wrong.

The Super Bowl is being played in New York next year, and in 2015, it will be in Phoenix.

Miami and San Francisco are bidding for the 2016 Super Bowl, while Houston is lining up to bid for the 2017 Super Bowl. Minneapolis has expressed interest in the 2017 or 2018 Super Bowl. Dallas has also expressed interest in hosting a Super Bowl in the next five years.

Any of the above cities that fail to land the 2016 or 2017 Super Bowls will surely pursue the big game in 2018. San Francisco and Minneapolis are likely to bolster their bids with new stadiums.

“Competition to host the Super Bowl will be fierce,” Melangton said. “So we’ll have to be on top of our game.”

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