Tampa, home to four Super Bowls in its history, missed out on a fifth when the latest wave of games was announced by the NFL this week, but commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter Thursday to Bucs co-chairmen Bryan and Joel Glazer, reassuring them Tampa remains a strong candidate for future games.
"It is clear the Tampa Bay region will be in excellent position to contend for Super Bowls in the years to come," Goodell wrote on NFL letterhead in a letter obtained Friday by the Tampa Bay Times. "Thank you for your leadership and many contributions to the success of the league. Our office and the Super Bowl Advisory Committee will continue to support your efforts."
Tampa was one of four finalists for Super Bowls in 2019 and 2020, but those games went to Atlanta and Miami, with the 2021 game going to Los Angeles, where the Rams have relocated and will be eventually playing in a new stadium.
Atlanta has a $1.5 billion stadium opening next year, and Miami has put roughly $450 million into stadium renovations. Goodell acknowledged that Tampa's bid was up against "unusually strong and unique competition," reiterating that Tampa's case was compelling to NFL owners.
"While the vote wasn't in your favor this time," Goodell wrote in the letter, "I want to assure you — and the entire Tampa Bay community — that the bid was highly impressive to everyone at the meeting and had significant support from other owners. The result was in no way a reflection of your club or city's leadership and vision."
Tampa will host college football's national championship game in January, and Raymond James Stadium is getting about $100 million in renovations, most notably an upgrade to the stadium's video boards for the upcoming NFL season.
Tampa hasn't hosted a Super Bowl since 2009, and the next available game would be in January 2022 — that selection is likely more than a year away.
Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, said Tuesday that Tampa's bid was a "long shot" against newer stadiums, but remained confident that Tampa's history of hosting Super Bowls and other major sporting events would continue.
"While we're naturally disappointed in the decision, we remain undeterred in our pursuit of a fifth Super Bowl for our community," he said.