Each of the three previous Super Bowls in Tampa were well-received, including Super Bowl XXXV in Raymond James Stadium
The Super Bowl is coming back to Tampa!
Confirming the confident talk of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Task Force, the 32 National Football League team owners voted on Wednesday to hold Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. It will be the fourth Super Bowl played in Tampa and the second in Raymond James. The home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers most recently played host to the big game in January of 2001.
"We are so excited and so happy that the NFL has awarded the Super Bowl to Tampa," said Buccaneers Owner/President Malcolm Glazer. "We know that we have a beautiful community in Tampa, and what wonderful people we have there."
In winning the bid for the 2009 Super Bowl, the Bay area prevailed over very strong competition from Atlanta, Houston and Miami. The Atlanta bid was thought to be helped by the possibility of significant renovations to the Georgia Dome, and the Houston bid could call on fresh memories of a well-run event in 2004. Even Miami, already chosen to play host to the 2007 Super Bowl, was a contender given the league's obvious fondness for that site.
But it was Tampa and its over-the-top enhancement package that swayed the majority of the owners, when the final vote came down to an NFC South showdown between Tampa and Atlanta. The Bay area's bid included significant concessions to the league on game-day revenues, as well as an impressive NFL party to be staged at Busch Gardens. Of course, Tampa's attractive winter weather and countless activities were heavily stressed as well.
"The voting process is a few ballots and we were nervous," said Buccaneers Executive Vice President Bryan Glazer. "We left everything on the table. The community put an amazing bid together that could not be beat. We worked behind the scenes to talk to the owners, and they were all very impressed with the bid package. You are just sweating it out."
Members of Tampa's task force recently lauded the Glazer family, the Bucs' owners, for their effective campaigning with the other owners. At a press conference held last Friday, Bryan Glazer expressed confidence in Tampa's hopes, inspired in part by those private conversations between owners. The Bay area was awarded Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 in large part due to Tampa's new stadium; this time around, the Glazers' decade of relationship-building in the league was a critical element of the success.
"I think it is the fact that the Glazers are tremendous team players within the league," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "Since they took ownership of the team, they have made it into a model franchise. They won the Super Bowl. They have been part of the community partnership presenting the last, great Super Bowl in Tampa. I think the community's investment in a world-class stadium. But the friendship and the hospitality and the track record of the three prior Super Bowls in Tampa, coupled with this partnership here between the team and the community, obviously that is what did it. Those are the critical components."
Committees from the four competing cities made their pitches to the NFL owners between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Tampa drew the final time slot and used its 15 minutes to remind the voters of Tampa's assets, which will be even more significant by 2009. Tampa's main presentation was made by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Task Force President Dick Beard and Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman, and it include a video endorsement by golf legend Arnold Palmer. Shortly before the vote, an owner from the teams of each of the four cities was given five minutes to address the owners, and Bryan Glazer did so forcefully and convincingly for the Bay area bid.
The Tampa committee stalked the 2009 Super Bowl very aggressively, believing it to be the last opportunity to win hosting rights for a long time. The 2006-08 Super Bowls have already been awarded – to Detroit, Miami and Arizona, respectively – and the 2010 game is likely to be held in New York City. With new stadium possibilities in Dallas and Minnesota and the league's possible return to Los Angeles at some point, many subsequent Super Bowls may be spoken for.
Thus, Wednesday's news was a giant coup for West Florida. The Super Bowl provides its host city with an unbelievable opportunity to showcase its strengths, and also has a sizeable economic impact on the area. Tampa has had very good Super Bowl experiences on all three previous occasions, including the games in 1984 and 1991.
"We successfully hosted it three other times, and we expect the one in 2009 to be the best ever," said Iorio. "We could not have done it without the Glazers. We just want to thank them for everything they have done, and to make it happen for Tampa.. It is a wonderful partnership that we have had with the NFL since 1984 when we hosted the first Super Bowl. We promised the NFL that we would make 2009 a first-class Super Bowl that they would be proud of, and that every sports fan in America would be proud of. That's what we pledged to them, and that's what we'll do."