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Tampa officials confident of getting '09 Super Bowl
By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published May 4, 2005
TAMPA - The cover of the voluminous bid package for the 2009 Super Bowl screams out the bay area's allure: a picture of a beach and sun.
You don't get that everywhere in early February. Thus the motto: "Warm up in Tampa Bay."
"With the weather and all the entertainment we've got and our experience, I don't think there's any weakness in our bid," said Dick Beard, the chair of the local Super Bowl task force.
Atlanta, Miami and Houston are the other finalists, and groups from all four will make presentations at the owners' meeting in Washington on May25.
Friday, the local task force submitted its 80-page document (in a faux pigskin binder) that addresses everything from hotel rooms (19,000 are committed) to sites for NFL functions. (The committee will pay the $85,000 rental fee for the St. Pete Times Forum on a nonhockey night.) Organizers also are keeping an "enhancement package" as secretive as hole cards in a high-stakes poker game, but Beard said it will have a value of about $10-million.
"We're going to try to provide great venues for the NFL in entertainment activities," he said, citing golf courses. (The bid also promises 500 tickets to Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium for the teams and their families.) "We're also going to help with some of the expenses."
Beard said some money will have to be raised but is sure the private sector will do that. The money would be well-spent, he and others at Tuesday's news conference at Raymond James Stadium said.
"(A Super Bowl) highlights our community in such a spectacular way," Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio said. "And we have a lot to show off. The last three Super Bowls have just been wonderful opportunities to show the world what Tampa has to offer, and we'd like that opportunity in 2009 because it will update the world as to what's happened since 2001."
Tampa hosted the game in 1984, 1991 and 2001, and this might be the best opportunity to get another any time soon. Detroit, Miami and Arizona will host the next three games, and the league has talked about the Jets (2010) and Cowboys (2011 or 2012) hosting in new stadiums. With Miami hosting in 2007 and Houston in 2004, Atlanta, which is planning $150-million in improvements to the Georgia Dome, looms as Tampa's chief rival, Beard said. "Tampa's got the natural amenities," he said. "The last time (Atlanta) had a Super Bowl (in 2000), they had an ice (storm). With the weather, I believe we'll win."