The NFL Thursday selected Glendale, Ariz., and Tampa as finalists to host Super Bowl XLIX in '15, according to Rebekah Sanders of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Final bids "must be submitted by Aug. 1, with an NFL decision in October." Arizona has hosted two Super Bowls, most recently in '08, while Tampa has hosted four, most recently in '09. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee "lost bids for the 2012 and 2013 Super Bowls," but committee Chair Mike Kennedy said, "Our chances are better than they've ever been." Sanders notes the NFL "has changed the bid process." Rather than "allowing any city to submit bids, the league will now select two locations to compete each year." In previous years, the bidding "was more open," but now the NFL "will choose two similar sites, such as two warm-weather cities or two new-stadium cities" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/29). Tampa officials said that "they believe they've got a good shot at landing Super Bowl XLIX." A vote on the host city is "expected this fall at a league meeting." Paul Catoe, CEO of Tampa Bay & Co., Hillsborough County's convention and visitors bureau, said that so far the area "has merely expressed an interest in bidding and, significantly, picked up support" from the Buccaneers (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/29).
Events and Attractions
The opening of Churchill Downs' Spring Meet on Saturday “will be a nighttime affair, complete with live music between races and an attempt to re-create the buzz of the Derby's red carpet,” according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. Moving the event, which had been held during the day, to night is part of CDI’s effort to “take what is traditionally a good day and make it into a standout evening under its recently installed lights -- a reflection of the company's broader strategy of singling out a few race days for improvement at all four of its tracks.” CDI officials are “preparing for the track's biggest crowd for any night racing card,” which would mean attendance of “more than 33,481.” Track President Kevin Flanery said advance sales are “beyond my expectations.” A track spokesperson said that “all indoor dining-area seating” is sold out. Racegoers “can enter on a red carpet,” and a band and DJ “will entertain in the paddock area, which will be decked out with bunting and extra lighting.” CDI President & CEO Bob Evans said that he “doesn't know how many other racing days are out there that can be made special -- particularly for a meet as long as Churchill's, stretching from late April and ending July 4.” But he added, “We'll keep trying.” Flanery said that a July 4 “nighttime ending has been considered, but doing it would depend on which day of the week the holiday falls on” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/29).