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Tampa set to back bid for 2009 Super Bowl

Published March 15, 2005

TAMPA - Tampa's bid to host Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 has reached the red zone.

City Council is set to officially throw its support behind the effort Thursday, and the Hillsborough County Commission wrote a letter of support last month.

The preliminary bid proposal, which is due April 1 to the National Football League, requires the backing of local government. The final proposal is due May 2, and the NFL expects to decide May 27.

"We always like events that generate a tremendous economic impact," said Mark Huey, Tampa's economic development manager.

Tampa didn't do an economic impact study after the 2001 Super Bowl, said Paul Catoe, president of the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. But studies showed that the game pumped $340 million into San Diego in 2003.

"By the time it rolls around back to Tampa we're probably in the neighborhood of $350- to $370-million," Catoe said.

The event also attracts a "who's who of corporate America," Huey said.

"It's tremendous public relations exposure to a very important group of decision makers who regularly decide where to locate corporate facilities," he said. "Then there's the international stage we're on."

It's not possible to calculate the value of having headlines all over the world about an event in Tampa, Huey said.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau will spend about $30,000 on the bid. The money comes from the bureau's budget, funded by a county tax paid by hotel guests.

The bureau on Monday tapped Dick Beard to chair Tampa's 2009 Super Bowl Task Force. Beard is chairman of the University of South Florida Board of Trustees and owner of a real estate investment and advisory firm.

Tampa is competing against Houston, Miami and Atlanta for the game.

Jim Norman, a county commissioner and Tampa Sports Authority member who is closely involved with the bid preparation, said Atlanta poses the stiffest competition in the process.

Miami will host the Super Bowl in 2007, and Houston had it in 2004. Tampa, though, had the game in 2001, one year after Atlanta last had it.

But Tampa has good weather going for it, as well as a highly regarded stadium, Norman said. Raymond James was named the No. 1 playing field by NFL players last year.

And Tampa's balmy weather means visitors can do things besides watch the game.

The game Atlanta hosted in 2000 was known as the Ice Bowl, Norman said, because the weather was so cold and the city shut down for several days leading up to game day.

[Last modified March 15, 2005, 01:06:08]

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