City officials and the Indianapolis Colts have joined forces in pursuit of a singular goal: bringing the NFL's 2011 Super Bowl to Lucas Oil Stadium.
Although the quest still is in the preliminary stages, Colts owner Jim Irsay said it is a high priority for everyone involved.
"We're centering in on 2011 and beginning to look at putting a bid package together,'' he said. "That's exciting. That's something I really want to get accomplished.''
The first opportunity for the city to submit a formal proposal would be at the NFL owners meetings March 25-28, 2007, in Phoenix.
Sites for the next four Super Bowls already have been determined, beginning with Super Bowl XLI, which is Feb. 4, 2007, in Miami. The first available Super Bowl is in 2011.
Several cites already have expressed interest in securing what will be Super Bowl XLV, including Indianapolis and Dallas, both of which are building new stadiums for their pro teams. Lucas Oil Stadium will be completed for the 2008 season. The Cowboys' new facility, in Arlington, is scheduled to open in 2009.
"We've had numerous cities express preliminary interest,'' said Brian McCarthy, the NFL's director of corporate communications. "The best way to describe it is it will be highly competitive.''
The economic impact for a city hosting a Super Bowl has been estimated at approximately $300 million. That's about the same as has been estimated for the Indianapolis 500, and dwarfs the $40 million boost Indy claimed from last spring's NCAA men's Final Four.
I suppose it makes for a nice diversion just as you begin talking about something average Hoosiers would rather not hear about right now. But I'm not fooled. Are you?