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Tampa Lands 2009 Super Bowl

By IRA KAUFMAN [email protected]
Tampa Tribune
Published: May 25, 2005

WASHINGTON - NFL owners awarded the 2009 Super Bowl to Raymond James Stadium today as Tampa Bay overcame stiff competition from Atlanta and Houston to land the nation's most prestigious sports event for the fourth time.
The Bay area delegation sweetened its enhancement package in recent days and the group stressed balmy February weather, an array of outdoor activities and Tampa's solid reputation as a Super Bowl site in making its 15-minute pitch to land the game - tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1, 2009.

''The Tampa community is so excited and so happy to be awarded a Super Bowl,'' Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer said after the announcement. ''We know what a beautiful community tampa is and they're wonderful people, and we love them all.''

Bucs executive vice president Bryan Glazer, who worked closely with the group to present a unified message, directly addressed NFL owners following the formal presentation by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman and Super Bowl Task Force Chairman Dick Beard.

''We just want to say how absolutely ecstactic we are in Tampa to have the Super Bowl in Tampa in 2009,'' Iorio said. ''We've successfully hosted it three other times and we expect the one in 2009 to be the very best ever.

''We couldn't have done it without the Glazers, and we want to thank them for everything they've done to make it happen for Tampa. Thank you Glazers, because you're just great owners and you made it happen and we look forward to a wonderful year in 2009.''

``We are, of course, delighted and somewhat surprised,'' said longtime Tampa activist Leonard Levy, a former head of the task force. ``We were confident we had a very good proposal, but when you are at the mercy of 32 very different individuals, you never know.

``A lot of credit goes to Dick Beard, who rallied many that could network with NFL insiders, Paul Catoe and his staff that prepared a tremendous bid and obviously the Bucs and the Sports Authority, whose contributions were big.''

On the fourth ballot, the Bay area was selected to serve as Super Bowl host for the first time since 2001, frustrating Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Bob McNair, owner of the Texans.

''I think it is the fact that the Glazers are tremendous team players within the league,'' NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said when asked why Tampa was chosen. ''Since they took ownership of the team, they have made it into a model franchise. They won the Super Bowl. They have been part of the community partnership presenting the last, great Super Bowl in Tampa. I think the community's investment in a world-class stadium.

''But the friendship and the hospitality and the track record of the three prior Super Bowls in Tampa, coupled with this partnership here between the team and the community, obviously that is what did it. Those are the critical components.''

Blank had hoped a 2009 Super Bowl designation would trigger $150 million in improvements to the state- owned Georgia Dome and help the Falcons secure favorable lease alterations.

Houston's bid focused on state-of-the-art Reliant Stadium, which impressed owners during the 2004 Super Bowl.

''There's so many people to thank and we have to really thank the Tampa Bay community,'' Iorio said. ''What a wonderful effort they put out. We have a city that is just crazy about sports. We love sports in Tampa, and they're behind it. And the corporate community is behind it all the way.

''Our convention/visitors association, headed by [Catoe], put together such a package of enhancements and amenities that I think really set the bar. It's a wonderful partnership we've had with the NFL since 1984 when we hosted the first Super Bowl [in Tampa].''

The game will be televised by NBC, and locally on WFLA, Channel 8.

3rd Coast
1,123 Posts
I was honestly shocked by that outcome, nothing against Tampa, but I thought it was between Atlanta and Houston.

But Congrats to Tampa and I hope they pull it through and have a great SuperBowl.
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