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Hillsborough County Commissioners back push to bring Super Bowl back to Tampa

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

It’s been almost seven years since Tampa last hosted a Super Bowl, but local officials are working on an effort to host the NFL championship game in either 2019 or 2020.

With little fanfare, the Hillsborough County Commission on Wednesday voted 7-0 to back such a bid after hearing the details from Rob Higgans, executive director of the Tampa Sports Authority.

Tampa is in completion with fellow Southeastern locations Miami, New Orleans and Atlanta.

“As a result, it’s critically important that the NFL knows that local government supports our community hosting a fifth Super Bowl,” said County Commissioner Ken Hagan. “This is consistent with what the county has done in past Super Bowl bids. It does not obligate the county to do anything.”

Hagan said that when Tampa formally submits its bid to the NFL, there will be no references to county or tourist tax funding. “That decision would be up to this board, should we ultimately be awarded one of the games.”

Last month, the Tampa City Council approved a similar formal endorsement.

The NFL owners will make their decision next May.

Tampa has hosted the game four previous times: In 1984, 1991, 2001 and 2009. Both Miami and New Orleans have hosted 10 Super Bowls each, while Atlanta has served as host twice.

In recent years, NFL owners have given preference to cities with new stadiums in choosing Super Bowl sites, which is why places like Dallas, Indianapolis and New Jersey have been the site of recent games. Of the four cities that will bid for the 2019 and 2020 games, Atlanta is the only one that will have a new stadium. But the Miami Dolphins will boast a $400 million renovation of their stadium.

The Tampa Tribune reported today that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the county are close to a deal that could bring up to $100 million of renovations to Raymond James Stadium.  The project will include new HD video boards, sound and concession improvements, and an overhaul of luxury suites.

Super Bowl 50 takes place next February in Santa Clara’s , Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. Houston will host the 2017 game, and Minnesota gets their chance in 2018.

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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