City leaders confident as 2011 Super Bowl decision draws near
By EMILY UDELL, Associated Press Writer
May 17, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- As NFL owners prepare to pick the host city for the 2011 Super Bowl, city leaders in Indianapolis said they are confident they have lined up the amenities and funds necessary to make a strong pitch for the championship game.
Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell said the city's bid committee will be able to raise $20 million to $25 million before next week's owners' meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
"When we make our presentation, we'll have it in hand," Campbell said Thursday.
He declined to give the amount of money raised, saying the committee didn't want the competition to have that information.
Indianapolis is vying for the 2011 game with Phoenix, next year's Super Bowl host, and Dallas, where an 80,000-seat stadium is scheduled to open in 2009. The Cowboys have said their venue in suburban Arlington could accommodate up to 100,000 for a Super Bowl.
No other aspiring host city had raised the funds needed to host the NFL's biggest game before the owners' meeting, committee president Fred Glass said.
Several large donors have pledged their support for the Indianapolis bid, which highlights the city's experience hosting large sporting events and a new football stadium slated to open next year.
Lucas Oil president Forrest Lucas, who paid $120 million to put his name on the Colts' new stadium, and Colts owner Jim Irsay each announced they would contribute $1 million to the effort. Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. promised $2.5 million. Glass' employer, the law firm Baker & Daniels, also agreed to kick in $500,000.
"We're pleased with the way the business community has stepped up," Campbell said.
On Tuesday, developers unveiled updated plans for a 1,000-room JW Marriott hotel complex, which is also one of the linchpins of the city's bid. The NFL requires a city hosting the Super Bowl to have some 25,000 hotel rooms.
"We certainly have been able to meet the mark and exceed it as well -- to the surprise of the NFL, but certainly not to us," said Bob Schultz, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
Schultz said the city has signed contracts for more than 35,000 hotel rooms within the required distance of Lucas Oil Stadium, the retractable-roof field that is scheduled to open before the Colts' 2008 season. He also said the city has identified venues where off-field events can be staged, including the Eiteljorg Museum and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
Schultz declined to further elaborate on the city's plans.
"We want to keep some of those cards close to the vest because of the competitive nature of the bid," he said.
League officials traditionally have chosen warm-weather cities for the Super Bowl, although Detroit and Minneapolis, which have domed stadiums, have hosted it.
"We recognize we have formidable competition here with Dallas and with Phoenix -- two other great destinations," Schultz said. "We know it will not be an easy decision by the owners, but it will be one that we know we can deliver on."
Call em as I see em!