Buccaneers Executive Vice President Bryan Glazer believes Tampa has made the best bid among four competitors for Super Bowl XLIII in 2009
On Wednesday, the owners of the 32 National Football League teams will meet to determine where Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 will be held: Atlanta, Houston, Miami or Tampa. Architects of the Bay area's bid for the big game are confident Tampa will be the choice.
"We're very optimistic about the Super Bowl," said Bryan Glazer, executive vice president of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "We think our competition is good but we think we're better.
"Our chances are excellent. I think we have a heck of a bid and it would be very hard for them to turn it down."
A successful bid for the Super Bowl requires a dedicated committee comprised of local leaders as well as a team ownership that is committed to working hard to influence fellow owners. The vote on Wednesday will be the culmination of a five-month effort by the committee and several busy weeks of behind-the-scenes work by the Glazers.
"Everybody here has worked very hard to bring the Super Bowl to Tampa again in 2009," said Glazer. "The 2009 Super Bowl would be in our 15th year as owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To see the changes this community has made in our 10 years here, and five more by then, will be remarkable. I would love for the other owners to come here and see the changes in our area. If the owners have the opportunity, which we think they will, to come here for the 2009 Super Bowl, they will see an area they will not recognize...a growing dynamic place where the weather is spectacular."
Glazer's confidence stems from more than just Tampa's superior climate – though that point has been heavily stressed throughout the efforts to bring the Super Bowl back to the Bay area for a fourth time. The Glazers and Tampa's bid committee believe Tampa's package to present to the league is clearly superior to the other bids in terms of both its financial commitment and peripheral activities.
Glazer made his comments Friday at a press conference at Raymond James Stadium designed to update the local press on the four-city bid competition. Paul Catoe, president & CEO of the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau introduced Glazer and several other very optimistic speakers, including Dick Beard, president of the Super Bowl Task Force; Jim Norman, Hillsborough Counter Commissioner and Pam Iorio, Tampa's mayor. The meeting followed a similar press conference on May 3, which was held just after the committee had submitted the necessary bid documents to the NFL.
"The last time I spoke, I spoke of how dynamic [the Glazers] were going to be behind the scenes," said Norman. "I'm here to assure you today that they've been working hard. This is a united effort. We are doing everything humanly possible to bring this home. This deserves to be in Tampa, this deserves to be in Raymond James Stadium. We're proud to be the community that's going to win the '09 Super Bowl.
One aspect of the Tampa bid that inspires confidence in the local officials is the package of enhancements the area has offered the NFL. Though not all the secrets of those enhancements were revealed on Friday, Beard insisted that Tampa's presentation was at least three times better financially than the next closest bid. Some of the details were shared, including an elaborate party for the NFL at Busch Gardens, paid for by the Bay area, and a series of free rounds of golf at exclusive local clubs for every team. In addition, the financial commitments from the stadium on the day of the game were said to be significantly larger than those of the other bids.
Though those bottom-line commitments on game day are obviously critical, Glazer also stressed the influence the other enhancements will have on fellow owners. The Busch Gardens party and the many rounds of golf will give the other teams very attractive entertainment options for the sponsors and business partners they bring to the Super Bowl site, an important consideration for owners.
Bryan Glazer also believed that his family's feel for the rest of the owners is better now than it was when Tampa was awarded the 2001 Super Bowl.
"The last time we went for a Super Bowl, we had just been in the league for a couple years, and it was a different experience," he said. "Now we've been in the league 10 years and it's a whole new ballgame. We've gotten to know the other owners better and our relationships are better. The longer you're in the league, the more you get to know everybody and know the nuances of the different owners."
As important as this decision is, the NFL will make it swiftly. The Bay area's delegation will arrive in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the four delegations will gather at the meetings at 11:00 a.m. and choose numbers to determine order of the presentations. Each committee is allowed just 15 minutes to make its pitch, and groups are limited to five people each, with only three who may speak during the presentation.
"Everybody has worked very hard and we will give it our very best shot come Wednesday of next week," said Iorio. "We will do our best to paint the picture for the NFL owners of a city they already know but they don't know what it will be like in 2009. When we come back to Tampa, we hope to come back with the news that we have the Super Bowl for 2009."
The four presentations will be made between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Beard, Iorio and Norman will speak during Tampa's allotted time, with Cato and former Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Leonard Levy also in the room. The Bay area presentation will also include a taped message from golf legend Arnold Palmer, who has endorsed Tampa's bid, and a three-minute video presentation extolling the area's virtues.
The owners will vote immediately afterward and announce their decision that same afternoon.
Said Beard: "If great stadiums, great ownership, great weather and a lot of effort will win this thing, it will be in Tampa Bay in '09."