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Tampa would like a fifth Super Bowl

TAMPA — Even as workers raked confetti from the rain-soaked field at Raymond James Stadium, NFL and local officials were talking Monday about bringing a fifth Super Bowl to Tampa.

Mayor Pam Iorio said she would like to see the city bid on another game before she leaves office in 2011.

"We're good at it," she said. "Why shouldn't we do something we're good at?"

NFL executives in town for the game seemed to agree.

League spokesman Greg Aiello said Tampa "did another outstanding job hosting the Super Bowl," and he expects the community will "be a strong candidate" to host again.

Officials praised Tampa for being friendly, safe and — this is a surprise — compact.

Ron Hill, NFL vice president for football operations, said he rented a car but needed it only to get to team practice sites. He walked from his hotel downtown to events at the Tampa Convention Center and meals at Channelside.

Despite a huge number of parties Friday night and street closures around the stadium Sunday, traffic generally moved smoothly through the city.

"I think the NFL had a great experience here," said Reid Sigmon, executive director of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee. "Everything from the volunteers, to the weather, the infrastructure, the local governments, the traffic, the public safety. All of those things were very positive and will absolutely help us as we look to future Super Bowls."

The decision to bid again lies with the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They would have to let the NFL know they want the game back.

In an e-mail, Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer indicated they do, saying the organization was "extremely pleased" by the entire week.

"It truly was a collaborative effort by our entire community and was a wonderful opportunity to showcase all that the Tampa Bay area offers to the rest of the world," Glazer said. "At the appropriate time, we will discuss how to work on bringing the Super Bowl back to Tampa Bay."

The next available Super Bowl is in 2013. The game will be in Miami in 2010, Dallas in 2011 and Indianapolis in 2012.

It will be a first for Dallas and Indianapolis, but the 10th Super Bowl for Miami.

Iorio said she believes Tampa should try hard to be part of the NFL's regular rotation of Super Bowl host cities.

The game, she said, has a positive impact on the community by promoting civic pride, giving the city national exposure and providing an economic boost, even though experts disagree about the actual impact.

Preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings show 95.4 million people watched Tampa's Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday, and the city was the backdrop for national broadcasts for the entire week leading up to the game.

Maryann Ferenc, co-owner of Mise En Place, almost ran out of superlatives to describe business at her Tampa restaurant Friday and Saturday nights.

"Fabulous, really amazing, record numbers,'' she said.

Tables were booked both evenings, with customers taking reservations as early as 5:30 p.m. and late as 10:45 p.m. The restaurant served 215 people for dinner Friday night and 250 on Saturday. On a typical late January weekend, Ferenc said she could count on about 140 customers a night.

The Embassy Suites on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa was sold out Thursday through Sunday.

"In these troubled times, it was a spectacular event to have,'' said Martin Rothchild, the hotel's general manager. "This weekend gives us a lift for the month, the whole half-year.''

Iorio said when she visited the Channelside entertainment complex and Ybor City over the weekend, she saw packed restaurants and bars, and bustling streets.

"It's been a fantastic week. Just fantastic," she said.

For many Super Bowl visitors, the week came to a rainy end Monday at Tampa International Airport, where officials predicted their busiest day there in more than a year.

Despite the traffic, there were no major delays at ticket counters or security-screening checkpoints.

Times staff writers Kevin Graham and Steve Huettel contributed to this report. Janet Zink can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa would like a fifth Super Bowl 02/02/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 6, 2009 7:18am]
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