TAMPA — Tampa will compete with Denver, Minneapolis, New Orleans and other cities for a chance at hosting Super Bowl LII in 2018.
Tampa leaders alerted the National Football League of their interest in hosting the championship game earlier this month, three weeks before a Friday deadline.
"You really can't respond fast enough to express just how interested we are in pursuing the event," said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.
Indianapolis, which hosted the Super Bowl last year, announced Friday that the city would compete for the 2018 game.
The NFL will announce its short list of top picks in October and select a winner in May.
It would be Tampa's fifth Super Bowl after hosting games in 1985, 1991, 2001 and 2009.
But Tampa will face some tough competition. Each of the next four championships — in East Rutherford, N.J.; Glendale, Ariz.; San Francisco; and Houston — will be held in stadiums newer than the 14-year-old Raymond James Stadium.
Eight newer stadiums have yet to field a Super Bowl, though nearly all are in northern climates typically cold for the late-winter game. The game next February in New Jersey's MetLife Stadium will be the first Super Bowl held in an outdoor northern stadium.
Higgins said Tampa's weather, party venues and proven record in hosting big events like last year's Republican National Convention will improve the city's chances.
"We're making sure we're putting our best foot forward instead of worrying about the other franchises," Higgins said.
Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.