NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans is on the short list to host the 2018 Super Bowl, the NFL's biggest game of the year.
GNO Sports Foundation CEO Jay Cicero made that announcement late Tuesday afternoon.
"New Orleans, along with Minneapolis and Indianapolis have been invited to bid on the 2018 Super Bowl," Cicero said.
Saints owner Tom Benson personally lobbied the NFL owners sub-committee on the Super Bowl.
"2018 is a special year and that was part of Mr. Benson's pitch (Monday), that it's the Tri-Centennial of New Orleans and what better time to host a Super Bowl then the 300th anniversary of our great city," added Cicero.
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation CEO Mark Romig says hosting the big game for a record 11th time would be a great way to showcase the city during its special year.
"The most authentic location in the United States," Romig said. "It has produced the original art form for the United States and the world called Jazz and it would be an appropriate way to celebrate the 300th."
Six cities expressed interest in hosting the 2018 Super Bowl.
The other venues included Miami, Dallas and Tampa, along with Minneapolis and Indianapolis which remain on the short list with New Orleans.
Superdome Commission Chairman Ron Forman says New Orleans may have a leg up on the competition since the NFL played a huge role in helping to rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina.
By 2018, the new University and VA Hospitals will be built along with other major improvements across the city.
"The NFL and the players are proud of New Orleans rebirth, so to be able to tell the story in 2018, with the completion of all the changes and the biggest urban renewal ever is a great story for the NFL as well as the city of New Orleans," Forman said.
No doubt, hosting another Super Bowl would be super for New Orleans.
Studies show it boosts the city's economy by more than $430 million, fills 38,000 hotel rooms and brings more than 150,000 visitors to town.
"You're talking about an event that impacts not only the hotels and the airport, but the small businesses that support our tourism economy," Romig said.
Based on the city's performance during this past Super Bowl in New Orleans, many in the NFL predicted New Orleans would be in line for another big game down the road. Now, local leaders are hoping that Super Bowl 52 is the right number for the Crescent City.
"First of all, the owners love our stadium," Forman said. "We know that story. They've all told us, every time they come. We may have the best stadium, anywhere in the country, particularly because of the ability to be close to over 25,000 hotel rooms."
Cicero says now that New Orleans has a chance to compete for the 2018 Super Bowl, the hard work begins to put together the best bid.
"We were surprised that it was limited to 3 (cities) and no other warm weather cities were invited, but you never know how it's going to go in those meetings and we're just very happy to be on the short list."
All three cities will get a chance to make their final pitches during the NFL owners meeting in mid-May. After that, owners vote on which finalist gets to host Super Bowl 52.