NEW ORLEANS – Just one year after hosting its last Super Bowl, the city of New Orleans is bidding for another and it has quite a lot going for it. The city is consistently listed as the top choice of media for a Super Bowl destination and its performance hosting 2013’s game was flawless – almost.
The in-game power outage was a black eye, but those involved in the bid for the 2018 game don’t think it will be a lasting problem.
“Everything associated with the power outage has been resolved,” said Jay Cicero, the president of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. “The switch has been removed completely. (We) found out that it didn’t need to be there to begin with.
“I don’t think the NFL thinks it’s an issue. Certainly, the bid specifications under electrical have gone up for everyone since that time, but the NFL doesn’t consider it any more of an issue than it is at any other stadium. They’ve said that to us.”
And there haven’t been any electrical issues since, including at an electrically-challenging, monster-sized Wrestlemania show.
The New Orleans bid will center on the 300th anniversary of the city. Cost will also play a factor and Cicero said New Orleans is competitive in that arena.
And, experience helps, with the city having hosted 10 previous games.
“I think the uniqueness of New Orleans is always something that's on top of their minds, as well has having 20,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the facility. The French Quarter, the Convention Center, all of those things play into a presentation that hopefully will influence the owners to vote for New Orleans.
Spearheading that effort will be two men – Entergy Vice-President Rod West and tourism leader Steve Perry, who, according to Cicero, are the best in America. He also had great praise for Tom and Rita Benson and the job they do trying to persuade their fellow owners.
Indianapolis, one of the cities in the running, last hosted the game in 2012.
“Indianapolis doesn't have the same assets that New Orleans has with restaurants and ambiance and the culture that we have, but they did a really good job,” said Cicero.
Minneapolis, another contender, has the selling point of a brand new, billion dollar stadium that is scheduled to open in 2016. The NFL does have a track record or rewarding Super Bowls to cities with new stadiums.
“It's one of the carrots that the NFL puts out there for cities that want and have a desire for a new stadium that the possibility of a Super Bowl coming is very strong.”
But, Minnesota is a cold weather city and the NFL dodged a huge bullet in this year’s game in New York. The weather on game day was actually really nice, but, this winter New York had no days where the temperature was below zero. Minneapolis had 50 such days.
Despite its seeming advantages, Cicero knows New Orleans will have it tough.