When will Tampa Bay's next turn to host Super Bowl come?
A pair of Super Bowls were awarded to San Francisco and Houston on Tuesday when NFL owners voted overwhelmingly to stage the game in those cities in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
But Tampa Bay knows a little about holding Super Bowls, too. So, when can we reasonably expect the game to return?
The next 12 months will be critical in determining that answer. That’s because the Bucs and Tampa Bay leaders are expected to make a push for the next opening, the 2018 game.
As Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn told Times reporter Richard Danielson this week, “I fully anticipate we will be back in the regular (bidding) rotation come (Super Bowl) 52.” That’s the 2018 game, to be clear.
But it won’t be easy to pull off. There’s increased competition these days and an emphasis on elements that go beyond the weather in February – an area where Tampa Bay easily trumps most other competitors.
Indianapolis leaders say they’re going to get in on the 2018 bidding process, and their success holding the Super Bowl there in February 2012 bodes well for them.
There won’t be any real developments for a while because the NFL doesn’t extend invitations to bid on the next opening until the fall. But if and when Tampa Bay is among the cities included in the voting for the 2018 game, it won’t be a slam dunk – despite the region’s success hosting the game four previous times.
Relevant questions include:
-- Will the obvious emphasis on having a state-of-the-art stadium (see South Florida) impact Tampa Bay’s ability to land future Super Bowls? Each of the next four games will be held in stadiums newer than 16-year old Raymond James Stadium, though the venue still is among the better facilities in the NFL.
-- On a related note, with cities like San Francisco and, eventually, Atlanta planning new stadiums, will they become regular bidders and add increased competition?
In the end, you’d like to think the weather and Tampa’s ability to host major events like the Super Bowl and last year’s Republican convention will make the difference. But it’s fair to ask whether landing a Super Bowl could be more difficult than it used to be.