Game On: Indy Making Pitch to Host 2018 Super Bowl

Colts owner Jim Irsay, Governor Mike Pence, Mayor Greg Ballard, and other notables—including local fan favorite Jeff Saturday—gathered today for the formal announcement at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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Jeff Saturday has fond memories of Super Bowl XLVI, held in Indianapolis in February 2012—even if he wasn’t playing in it. The former Colts center (and fan favorite) got to rub elbows with visiting stars (including at least one talk-show host he won’t name) and other football players who came in from around the league. “They didn’t have expectations that were nearly as high as what we brought,“ a noticeably slimmed-down Saturday told IM this morning. He said many of the folks he spoke to were amazed at the energy pulsing from the city throughout the lead-up to the big event.

The government, community, and business leaders who gathered today at Lucas Oil Stadium to announce Indianapolis’s intent to bid for another Super Bowl in 2018 hope the good showing from last year gives the city a leg up.

“Indianapolis plans to nail it again,” Mayor Greg Ballard said at the press conference. “We did set the standard for bidders. We changed the game.”

The city is being “creative and innovative with our thinking and our planning [to bring the Super Bowl back] and raising all of the money needed to run the host committee and make the bid commitments ahead of time,” Allison Melangton, president of Indiana Sports Corp. and a member of the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee, told IM. She said the city still needs to raise approximately $30 million for the effort. It is important to “be able to say to the NFL that we have pledge commitments for all of the money that we need,” she explained. “This isn’t a question where you would award us the Super Bowl, and then we need to go find the money. We would already have it.”

Mayor Ballard noted in the press conference that the bid is “not a sure thing.” (A more optimistic Governor Mike Pence said he was “confident it will be successful.”) Although it’s not an official list, Melangton indicated that other cities likely to submit bids include Tampa, Minneapolis, and New Orleans. Notices of intent to bid were sent to the NFL today. By October a “short list” of candidate cities will be released. The NFL’s final decision is expected to come next spring.

According to Melangton, the economic impact of the 2012 Super Bowl made going for another one a no-brainer. “The city and the state took in millions of dollars in tax revenue,” she said. “That comes back and is used in things for taxpayers.” She cited a report from Rockport Analytics showing that during a 10-day span, Super Bowl XLVI generated $348 million in area spending, $324 million in GDP, and $46 million in local and state taxes. The estimated value of the city’s media coverage alone was $8.4 million.

Saturday, for one, who now works for the Colts organization, thinks Indianapolis is primed to do it again. “There is not a greater community surrounding football,” he told IM. “The football synergy in this community is like none other in America right now.”

Photo by Emily Taylor

To see all of IM‘s 2012 Super Bowl coverage, visit the Super City blog.

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