TAMPA — Location, location, location used to be the prevailing mantra when it came to the business of selling real estate and Super Bowl sites.
NFL owners have expanded the Super Bowl site field significantly in recent years, awarding new stadiums and adding new locations to the mix, while frustrating traditional locales such as Tampa Bay and Miami.
“The only thing that comes close to rivaling our intense interest in hosting a future Super Bowl is the fierce and increasing competition to be awarded,” Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, said Thursday.
“We remain in constant communication with our partners at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to monitor when our next opportunity will be to present our case for a fifth Super Bowl.”
The Bay area has hosted the league’s showcase game four times, most recently in 2009. The next available Super Bowl is in 2019, when 21-year-old Raymond James Stadium likely will have to compete against a blitz of suitors armed with newer and larger facilities.
The Bucs’ home field finished second to a New York bid in 2014 and lost out to Arizona for the 2015 game.
“The Tampa Bay area has a long and rich history as a Super Bowl host and we look forward to working closely with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, as well as local leaders, to prepare for the next opportunity,” Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford said in October, after the Bay area failed to make the cutdown to the final three bidders for the 2018 game.
This week, NFL owners chose Minneapolis over New Orleans and Indianapolis as the 2018 site. New Orleans had been 10-for-10 in vying for Super Bowls before Minneapolis was rewarded for building a new $1 billion facility, opening in 2016 at the old Metrodome site.
Next May, owners are expected to award the 2019 game. With a $1.2 billion retractable-roof stadium slated to open in 2017, Atlanta has been established as a favorite.
“We’re in queue,” warned Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who broke ground on the new facility, along with commissioner Roger Goodell, on Monday with league owners in town for the annual spring meeting. “There will be other cities and stadiums in queue, as well, and it’ll be very competitive.”
When Goodell visited Tampa a month ago, he assured an audience of civic and business leaders that the Bay area eventually will be awarded a fifth Super Bowl, but quickly added that he couldn’t say when, noting he doesn’t have a vote.
Besides strong competition from Atlanta, Tampa Bay could face an array of attractive suitors for the 2019 game, including Arlington, Texas, plus New Orleans, Miami and a few cold-weather sites empowered by the league’s decision to play the 2014 game in an open-air stadium at East Rutherford, N.J., where it snowed heavily only a few hours after the Seahawks routed the Broncos.
With potential new facilities opening down the line and Miami seeking extensive renovations for Sun Life Stadium, Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl drought could linger.
“It’s tough to beat a $1 billion building,” Indianapolis bid committee member Mark Miles said after Minneapolis was declared the 2018 winner. “Rewarding continued investment in NFL markets is smart business for the league.”