Atlanta one of five cities biddingATLANTA (TNS) —
For a building still under construction, still more than a year from opening, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has a couple of impressive victories.
The downtown Atlanta stadium is two-for-two in bids for marquee events, having landed college football’s national championship game in January 2018 and college basketball’s Final Four in April 2020.
The stadium’s winning streak will be on the line Tuesday when the 32 NFL owners vote by secret ballot at the league’s spring meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on the sites of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls.
Five cities, including Atlanta, are bidding for the games, with no city allowed to land more than one. The Atlanta bid committee prefers the February 2019 event, which will be awarded first, but also is seeking the other two in case the first goes elsewhere.
“We have put a lot of effort into this. But so have the other cities,” Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay said. “And so we don’t go in with any presumption.”
The other bidders are Miami (for all three years), New Orleans (for 2019 only), Los Angeles (for 2020 and 2021) and Tampa (for all three years).
Atlanta was rejected in its past two Super Bowl bids, losing out on the 2009 and 2010 games, with many owners saying they voted against the city because of the ice storm that marred the 2000 Super Bowl here.
But the city’s bid this time features something NFL owners have a hard time saying no to: a new stadium built with the help of taxpayer dollars.
Twice in the past three years, cities with stadiums under construction asked the NFL for a Super Bowl. Both times, the owners obliged, voting in 2013 to put the 2016 Super Bowl in the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium and voting in 2014 to put the 2018 Super Bowl in the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium.
It has become a routine reciprocation for a new stadium: If you build it, the Super Bowl will come. At least once. No matter the weather.
“I feel good about where we are, (but) there are other great cities that are competing that have great venues as well,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said this past week. “We think we’ve dotted every ‘i’ and crossed every ‘t.’”
He hopes the $1.4 billion retractable-roof stadium — slated to open in June 2017 — and its close proximity to the Georgia World Congress Center, thousands of downtown hotel rooms and other attractions will sway the vote.
“We think not just the stadium is unique, but downtown Atlanta is unique,” Blank said. “The fact that everything is walk-able is a major plus, I think, to a lot of the owners. It makes it much easier for guests here for a week to have a tremendous number of attractions and amenities within a stone’s throw of (the stadium).
“I think the amount of public support we’ve gotten in construction from the governor and the mayor and the city council is going to be important to the owners as well.”
Blank has called more than 20 owners recently to answer questions. One brought up the 2000 ice storm. Blank replied that climate change has improved Atlanta’s winter weather since then.
“I don’t think it’ll be an issue,” Blank said.
Weather didn’t dissuade the owners from putting the 2012, 2014 and 2018 Super Bowls in new stadiums in Indianapolis, East Rutherford, N.J., and Minneapolis, respectively.
Each bid city will get 15 minutes for a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting. Atlanta’s will be delivered by Equifax chairman and CEO Rick Smith and United Distributors president and CEO Doug Hertz. Then Blank will have five minutes to make a final pitch, as will the owners of the teams in the other bidding cities.http://www.albanyherald.com/sports/nfl-will-decide-tuesday-if-atlanta-gets-super-bowl/article_88cf4586-8208-57e0-9d5c-f982f924a966.html