Thwarted in bidding for Super Bowl LII in 2018 a year ago, New Orleans is being invited to bid on the 2019 and 2020 games.
Atlanta, Miami and Tampa Bay also are receiving invitations from the NFL’s Super Bowl selection committee at Wednesday’s final session of the annual league meetings in San Francisco, Saints President Dennis Lauscha said Tuesday.
The games will be awarded at next May’s meetings.
“New Orleans is a Super Bowl favorite city and has been for many years,” Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement released by the team. “We are excited to be once again invited, and I am confident that our city leaders and the hospitality community will come together and put forth our best bid.”
While the invitation to bid is an important step in securing what would be a record 11th Super Bowl for New Orleans, the opposition will be steep.
Atlanta, which is opening its new stadium in 2017, is considered the front-runner for the 2019 game, and Miami, which has announced a major renovation for Sun Life Stadium, can expect strong support for the 2020 game.
The NFL has a recent history of rewarding cities for building new stadiums. That was the case last year, when Minneapolis beat out New Orleans and Indianapolis for the 2018 game. The Vikings’ new stadium will open in 2016.
New Orleans was considered the front-runner a year ago, but after Indianapolis lost out to Dallas for the 2011 game, only to get the 2012 game a year later, league officials indicated they would not pit cities with new or renovated stadiums against each other again.
Thus Atlanta, which broke ground on its new stadium the week of the 2014 meeting, is likely to get the 2019 game, and Miami is likely to concentrate on 2020.
Atlanta has not hosted a Super Bowl since 2000. Miami is tied with New Orleans as the most frequent Super Bowl site with 10. The last one there was in 2010, when the Saints defeated Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV. Tampa has been the site of four Super Bowls, the most recent in 2009.
Also, NFL.com reported Tuesday that the league is moving closer to relocating a franchise or franchises to Los Angeles by 2016, meaning a Super Bowl can be expected there as soon as that city’s new stadium is built.
Last year’s bid marked the first time New Orleans had failed to secure a Super Bowl. But Lauscha has said the team along with the city will put forth a strong, serious effort.
“We still feel like we can compete against anyone, so our hat’s always in the ring,” he said. “Our attitude is, ‘We didn’t get the last one, so let’s go get the next one.’ ”
Jay Cicero, president of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, which will be organizing the bid, said the invitation shows the NFL is still interested in New Orleans.
“It’s a great feeling that the NFL has the confidence that New Orleans is still a viable city to bid,” he said. “So we’ll go through the process, and we know that the competition is going to be pretty stiff. You have to take all the factors about the other cities into account. But we’re going to put our best foot forward, put together the most aggressive bid we can and hopefully come home with the victory.”
Doug Thornton — regional vice president of SMG, which manages both the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Smoothie King Center — said he felt it was not a matter of if New Orleans would get another Super Bowl, but when.
“I think we’re going to be very competitive,” he said. “The improvements we’ve made in the past few years and the ones we recently announced (most prominently new video boards) keeps the Superdome and New Orleans every much in play.”
While the NFL did not release the cities that were seeking to bid, the list is notable in that there are no cold-weather cities involved. Also, Dallas did not receive an invitation to bid. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said recently that the new NFL proviso that cities winning Super Bowls must give up a home game to play in London was a deal-breaker.
Lauscha said it was a consideration for the Saints as well, but they proceeded with the bid.
The Super Bowl invitation is one of two decisions on future major events this week.
The city’s bid on a College Football Playoff championship game in 2019 or 2020 is dependent on passage of a bill, now pending in the State house of representatives, that would dedicate extra sales tax revenue created by hosting such events to help fund bidding for future ones statewide.
Allstate Sugar Bowl Chief Executive Officer Paul Hoolahan has said his group cannot justify being the sole entity of funding a bid for a CFP title game, which is estimated to be at least $18 million. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ed Murray (D-New Orleans), passed the Senate last week and will be heard Wednesday by the House’s Committee on House and Governmental Affairs.
Cicero is scheduled to testify in favor of the bill.