City eyes more Super Bowls, All-Star games before decade ends

City eyes more Super Bowls, All-Star games before decade ends

Credit: (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Musician Gary Clark Jr. performs the National Anthem before the 2014 NBA All-Star game at the Smoothie King Center on February 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 27 at 5:11 AM

Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

NEW ORLEANS — It hasn’t even been 14 days since New Orleans bid adieu to the NBA All-Star game, but the league’s mid-season extravaganza already is all but out of the minds of those inside the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.

Their focus is squarely on the future; specifically, another Super Bowl and another All-Star game.

But contrary to recent reports, they won’t be bidding on both for the same year.

“You can’t focus on the NBA’s needs because the Super Bowl is so engulfing,” said Jay Cicero, the executive director for the Sports Foundation. “It doesn’t do the NBA any good nor does it do the city any good or the NFL.”

New Orleans has put in a bid for the 2018 Super Bowl and is a finalist, along with Minneapolis and Indianapolis. Each city has reasons to think it has a good chance to win the bid.

Minneapolis is building a new stadium in downtown, due for completion in 2016 and the NFL has rewarded owners with new venues in the past with Super Bowls, including the most recently completed game at MetLife Stadium.

Indianapolis, meanwhile, hosted a largely successful game in 2012, one in which those who attended raved about the proximity of venues in the downtown area.

The Crescent City, meanwhile, has hosted 10 prior games and the 2013 edition was hailed by many who attended as the template for how Super Bowls should function. 2018 also is the city’s 300th anniversary, adding even more pomp and circumstance to an already huge event.

Cicero, though, understands how difficult it is for the city to obtain events now. It’s not like it used to be; the city can’t just trot out its great location and all facilities being in close proximity for fans and workers.

“The other cities have definitely learned that the business of sports is something that they’re very interested in,” Cicero said. “The main thing that the other cities have done is build facilities. When you build facilities you have the desire, and you have an attractive city, you’re going to go after major sporting events to fill that facility and to serve the purpose of that facility. It does make it more difficult.”

Difficult, but not impossible.

The city is coming off an unprecedented run, one in which it hosted 12 major events in a little more than two-year span beginning in December 2011.

  • New Orleans Bowl
  • Sugar Bowl and BCS championship, both hosted by the Sugar Bowl
  • SEC Men’s basketball tournament
  • Men’s Final Four
  • New Orleans Bowl
  • Sugar Bowl, hosted by the Sugar Bowl
  • Super Bowl
  • Women’s Final Four
  • New Orleans Bowl
  • Sugar Bowl, hosted by the Sugar Bowl
  • NBA All-Star

It’s exactly what the group set out to do in 2008 when it began putting together a full post-Hurricane Katrina plan for the city in regard to hosting events.

In doing so, Cicero said his organization and the city learned that it had deeper relationships with the NCAA, NFL and NBA than maybe even they believed. He called all of them “valued partners.”

And the positive publicity hosting the events doesn’t hurt.

“We kind of used to all talk about economic impact,” Cicero said. “I think we’ve all discovered since Hurricane Katrina, the power of the media one way or the other and the power of the positive media to overcome inaccuracies about New Orleans.”

He hopes to put together another string of events like the city just finished.

Besides the 2018 Super Bowl, the city is a finalist for men’s and women’s NCAA Final Fours in 2017, ’19 and ’20. There also will be another All-Star game bid, likely in 2019 at the earliest.

When the NBA came back to New Orleans for its annual event this month, it was just six years after the city last hosted it. The six years between All-Star games was the quickest turn around since it was in Philadelphia in 1970 and then in 1976.

The city will find out at the May NFL owners meetings whether they win the bid for the 2018 Super Bowl. Should they miss out on it, that would open the door for a bid for that year’s All-Star game, Cicero said.

The city also will find out in November which, if any, of the NCAA championships it will be awarded.

You can bet the final presentations for all the bids will play up the city’s vast experience in hosting these events. But the bids can’t only be about that.

“That’s nice but it doesn’t win,” Cicero said.

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