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Tampa passed over (again) as Arizona picked to host 2015 Super Bowl

TAMPA — For the second year in a row, Tampa Bay has come up short in its efforts to host the Super Bowl again.

Instead, National Football League team owners Tuesday chose Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix, as the site of the 2015 championship during their fall meeting in Houston.

As NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the decision, the Arizona committee screamed in delight. At the same instant, lunchtime diners at the Press Box sports bar in South Tampa exclaimed, "What?"

"I thought we would actually win it, but I guess not," said Carina Capella, 25, of St. Petersburg.

Her colleague, Garrett Thomas, 32, who manages a financial advisory firm, said the news was "extremely disappointing."

After the Tampa Bay Rays' recent playoff elimination, "It would have been nice to have a little win," he said.

"I'm trying to imagine what's so attractive about Arizona," said retired Hillsborough County high school teacher Bob Swanick, 65. "They have sunshine, but so do we."

That was precisely one of the points Tampa Bay's bid committee made, touting the area's proximity to water and its warm weather, including its warm winter evenings. (By contrast, average lows in Phoenix run in the upper 40s in February.)

Tampa's boosters also included a video featuring, among other things, Sarasota resident and college basketball commentator Dick Vitale, and bought billboards in Houston saying Tampa Bay wanted the Super Bowl back.

Paul Catoe, the retiring president and chief executive of Tampa Bay & Co., said in a statement after the vote that Tampa Bay has one of the best destinations for the event in the country.

"We are ready for another Super Bowl, and we look forward to the next opportunity to bring this prestigious event back home to Tampa Bay," he said.

Theoretically, that might be in 2016 — the year of the 50th Super Bowl — but chances could be better for 2017, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.

There's some thinking that the NFL may go with one of its original "legacy" host cities — Los Angeles, Miami or New Orleans — for the 50th edition of the game.

Whatever the circumstances, Buckhorn said Tampa will make a pitch for the game at the city's next opportunity.

"I guarantee you that we will be in the mix," he said. "The NFL loves Tampa. We do these Super Bowls better than anybody in the country."

Tampa probably could not have done anything different to change the outcome, Buckhorn said.

"Based on what I've been told, it was largely a question of the rotation," he said, adding that he was confident that Tampa stands to host the game again.

The head of Arizona's delegation suggested as much.

"It was spirited, healthy competition," Arizona host committee chairman Mike Kennedy said. "Over the last three or four years we have been in (Tampa's) position, and obviously I don't control everything, but I believe that the Super Bowl will once again be in Tampa. We have a soft spot in our hearts for the great hospitality we received when the Cardinals went there for Super Bowl XLIII in 2009."

Along with 2009, Tampa has hosted the Super Bowl in 1984, 1991 and 2001.

Tampa and South Florida were among the three finalists last year when the NFL chose New York to host the game in 2014.

This year, the NFL invited only Tampa Bay and Arizona to submit bids for the game. Arizona has played host to the Super Bowl twice, most recently in 2008.

Next year's championship is in Indianapolis, followed by New Orleans in 2013 and the New York/New Jersey area in 2014.

Host cities often say the Super Bowl delivers hundreds of millions of dollars in local economic impact. Arizona, for example, estimates that the 2008 game was worth more than $500 million to the local economy.

But many economists say sales tax receipts and other economic data show that the games have an impact that is, at best, a fraction of what the host city estimates.

On Tuesday, Buckhorn described the game's impact in more conservative terms.

"Different economists have different perspectives on this," Buckhorn said. "We have always argued that it has tens of millions of dollars of economic impact.

"It is something that we enjoy hosting," he said, describing the game as a psychological as well as an economic boost. "It is one of those things that puts us in those top tiers of cities. I think one of the reasons we were awarded the (2012) Republican National Convention was partially because of our ability to put on these things and do it well."

Information from the Associated Press, Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder and researcher John Martin was used in this report.

Tampa passed over (again) as Arizona picked to host 2015 Super Bowl 10/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 10:11pm]
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