It's official. Though it seemed a near-guarantee that New Orleans was the favorite to play host for Super Bowl LII, the city will not welcome the Big Game in 2018. Super Bowl LII was poised to be the city's 11th Super Bowl and was to coincide with the city's tricentennial, a selling point pitched by the New Orleans Super Bowl committee, which includes city officials and members of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. The pitch ("N.O. Better Time") failed to win over NFL owners who ultimately decided the hosting gig will go to Minneapolis, Minnesota, among a trio of finalists that also included Indianapolis, Indiana.
New Orleans hosted Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and its Super Bowl pitches have been 10 for 10 dating back to its first-ever, 1970's Super Bowl IV. Today's "no, thank you" vote is a first. Though the power outage and "blackout" during last year's game marred an otherwise perfect week for the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear it had no impact on the future of the NFL in town: "This will not affect the people's view in the NFL about the success of the game here in New Orleans. We know that they have an interest in future Super Bowls and we look forward to evaluating that going forward. I do not think this will have any impact at all on what I think will be remembered as one of the great Super Bowl weeks. And, again, we thank the people of New Orleans for that."
New Orleans remained the favorite for Super Bowl LII — ESPN and Sports Illustrated said New Orleans deserves the Big Game. NFL owners were split on a decision in their first round of voting and it came down to New Orleans vs. the Twin Cities city.
Minneapolis was measured as New Orleans' biggest contender for the bid. The city is finishing a massive $1 billion stadium — big enough for the Big Game — scheduled to be finished in 2016, a sort of promise with the NFL that it would receive Super Bowl LII. The game will be its second-ever Super Bowl. Its first was in 1992 for Super Bowl XXVI.
On the bright side: Super Bowl LII is tentatively scheduled Feb. 4, 2018, and Mardi Gras is Feb. 13.
Below the jump, a statement about the bid loss from host committee's Jay Cicero, president of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.
Congratulations to Minneapolis on their accomplishment. While we are disappointed in today’s decision, we are very proud of the presentation and work that went into our bid and putting our city in the best possible position to win. New Orleans’ reputation as a Super Bowl host is second to none, and we know there will be future opportunities to showcase our city’s unique culture, spirit and love of major events to the NFL. Most importantly, we have to thank Mr. and Mrs. Benson, Rita Benson LeBlanc and the entire Saints staff for their essential support and unwavering enthusiasm about New Orleans’ position as a Super Bowl city.
We will continue our pursuit of the nation’s and world’s premier sporting events, including the Super Bowl, showcasing our great city and state as a premier location and host.
The New Orleans bid promoted the undeniable assets of one of America’s most culturally diverse cities with an undeniable spirit for music, fun and love of major sporting events.
This bid and all previous bids for marquee events are the result of unparalleled cooperation and months of details, creativity, negotiation and strategy. It wouldn’t be possible without the full cooperation from the State of Louisiana, the City of New Orleans, SMG and the LSED, the Morial Convention Center, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and our famous New Orleans area restaurants.