Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa misses cut as NFL awards 3 Super Bowls

TAMPA — The NFL announced the sites for three more Super Bowls on Tuesday, and Tampa missed the cut, with Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles as the winners to host the NFL's biggest game in 2019-21.

Tampa was one of four finalists for 2019 and 2020, but missed out, as did New Orleans. Since first hosting a Super Bowl in 1984, Tampa hasn't gone more than 10 years without one — now it will be at least 13 years between Super Bowls at Raymond James Stadium.

"Certainly, we knew we were a longshot in the process, with how competitive the finalist group was," said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. "Anytime you have a chance to share your community story with some of the most influential people in the world like the NFL ownership group, you have to seize that opportunity. … While we're naturally disappointed in the decision, we remain undeterred in our pursuit of a fifth Super Bowl for our community."

Tampa's history as a Super Bowl host couldn't match the allure of new stadiums — Atlanta will open its $1.5 billion stadium next year, and Los Angeles will have a new stadium with the relocated Rams. Miami has added $450 million in renovations to its stadium and beat out Tampa for the 2020 game.

"The Tampa Bay area has distinguished itself as a top Super Bowl host over the years," Bucs co-chair Bryan Glazer said in a statement. "While today's decision is disappointing, we remain confident that our area — with its rich sports history, strong tourism-based economy and ideal warm climate — will remain a strong contender for future consideration."

Raymond James Stadium will host college football's national championship game in January 2017, and the stadium is undergoing $100 million in renovations, including new video boards that will be in place for the upcoming football season.

When the renovations were announced in December, Bucs CEO Brian Ford said they "will play a key role in our ability to attract the type of large-scale events that we have grown accustomed to hosting over the years."

But those renovations can't compete with new stadiums, and New Orleans was closer in the voting against Miami in the bidding among sites with existing stadiums.

"There are lessons in losses, and we knew it was going to be an uphill battle," Higgins said. "I think we raised some eyebrows in terms of how our community continues to transform."

Tampa has hosted four Super Bowls — 1984 and 1991 at Tampa Stadium and 2001 and 2009 at Raymond James Stadium. Miami's Super Bowl will be its 11th, while Los Angeles will have its eighth and Atlanta its third. Next year's Super Bowl will be in Houston, while the 2018 game will be in the Vikings' new stadium in Minneapolis.

Tampa will shift its focus to being a finalist for the next wave of Super Bowls, starting with the 2022 game. College football's national championship games have been awarded through the January 2020 game — Atlanta, Santa Clara and New Orleans have the next three after Tampa's — and Tampa would be in contention for the next round of college championship games, which should be awarded in the next 18 months.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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