Super Bowl bid committee talks weather concerns

Super Bowl XLVI, Indianapolis 2012
(WISH Photo)
Super Bowl XLVI, Indianapolis 2012 (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis is fighting for the chance to host the Super Bowl in 2018. But a tough winter with frigid temps and plenty of snow has some wondering if the NFL will give the Circle City another chance.

The effort to win the bid is moving forward quickly, and it includes a trip to this year’s Super Bowl festivities in another cold weather site.

It was February 2012 in Indianapolis, at Super Bowl XLVI, when a new concept was at the heart of the festivities — Super Bowl Village. It was a concept that had never been tried before.

“I think the Super Bowl Village was a huge success, and I think it opened the door in the eyes of the NFL to say, ‘This can be a great family event — a great friend event. It doesn’t have to be a corporate event,’” said Susan Baughman, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations for the Indiana Sports Corp and a member of the 2018 Bid Committee.

So successful was Indy’s village idea, the NFL made it a requirement for any future host cities. This year in New York it’s being called Super Bowl Boulevard. Instead of a zip line there’s a toboggan slide. And instead of the host city being in charge, the NFL will run it.

“I think for us to see what the priorities are for the NFL when they were controlling it versus the host city controlling it would be very interesting for us to come back with that information,” says Baughman.

So Baughman will lead four members of the 2018 bid committee to New York/New Jersey as Indy fights New Orleans and Minneapolis for the 2018 game. One question that keeps coming up is whether this current brutal winter in Indy — and the struggle the city has had keeping roads clean — might hurt the 2018 bid.

“I think the weather that we’ve experienced and all up and down the coast, especially the last couple of days, is extraordinary. It’s not normal. So I think they would be more apt to look at what we have done under more normal weather conditions,” she says.

She says the NFL was comfortable with Indy’s bad weather plan for 2012. Besides, Baughman says it’s not the weather that will win or lose the bid, it’s Indy’s innovations.

“So that is our challenge. To come up with new ideas and remain on the cutting edge of what’s going on so that we are a leader in that process,” Baughman says.

But the local committee is keeping those cutting edge ideas a secret for now. The committee is half way there with the effort to raise pledges of $30 million to pay the costs of hosting the Super Bowl.

Indy will submit its written bid to the NFL in April. After that, someone from the committee will go the New York to meet with the NFL one-on-one and talk about the bid.

Then comes the presentation to the owners, who vote in May.

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