Tampa is set to host the third College Football Championship game in 2017, and news broke this week the city is a finalist to host either the 2019 or 2020 Super Bowl. The Cigar City (Ed. note: Cigar City brewery is fantastic) previously hosted the big game in 1984 (L.A drubbing Washington), 1991 (poor Scott Norwood), 2001 (the forgettable Ravens blowout of the Giants) and in 2009 (Pittsburgh’s late rally to beat Arizona).
Tampa is up against two of the heaviest hitters in the industry in New Orleans and Miami (both cities have 10 Super Bowls each) as well as Atlanta and its fancy new digs. One way of competing with those cities is for Raymond James Stadium to get an upgrade, including new video boards and other amenities. After Tampa shocked many in the sports tourism world by winning the bid for the 2017 CFB Championship, it was assumed The Big Sombrero would get a facelift of sorts.
The specific details aren’t yet hammered out, but Hillsborough County and the Tampa Sports Authority are negotiating with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One thing is clear, however. Winning the bid to host the CFB Championship was a factor in being a finalist for the Super Bowl. Tampa has made previous efforts to get back into the Super Bowl business, but it hasn’t been a finalist since 2011.
One downside to not hosting this year’s CFB Championship—Glendale, Arizona will host—is Tampa won’t get to impress Super Bowl officials with how well it pulls it off. NFL owners will vote in May of 2016 on which cities will be awarded the games.
It’s unclear who’s the favorite to win the bids, however many feel Atlanta is in the driver’s seat as it will have a new stadium, and while Tampa has previously hosted several Super Bowls, going up against Miami and New Orleans is never easy. It’s rare when New Orleans isn’t selected, but Minneapolis outbid them for it during the last cycle, so you never know. Though to be fair to New Orleans, Minneapolis is also debuting a new shiny toy of a stadium, something that almost guarantees a Super Bowl at this point.