HOUSTON - The city of Houston is a finalist for the 2017 Super Bowl and local officials are making a big push to bring the game to the Bayou City.
The Super Bowl is inarguably one of the most watched sporting events in the world and the last time Houston hosted one back in 2004, the city saw an economic impact of more than $350 million, not to mention the completion of both Discovery Green in downtown and METRORail.
On Monday, the Super Bowl bid committee announced that former Secretary of State James Baker will lead the campaign to bring the Super Bowl back to Houston.
"The Houston bid for the 2017 Super Bowl will be first-class," said Baker.
Since 2004, Houston has continued to evolve. With $2.6 billion in development and one of the strongest economies in the country, it appears the odds of Houston hosting another one have never been better.
Funneling money into downtown projects and community redevelopment ahead of the Super Bowl is a strategy that seemed to work for Indianapolis in 2012. Those making the pitch said Houston is already way ahead of the game.
"I think the great thing about Houston is that we've already been investing. We don't have to sort of catch up, if you will," Committee Chairman Richard Campo said.
However, securing the bid for the 2017 Super Bowl could speed up certain projects that would otherwise have taken a backseat until after the Super Bowl. Light rail expansion is already underway and there are plans for a brand new hotel downtown.
Indianapolis turned its Super Bowl village into a permanent place to host festivals and events. Houston already has Discovery Green for that.
"There's not one thing that we're going to be able to point to other than what we're able to put together as a legacy for the community," said Greg Ortale, chief executive officer of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Members of the Super Bowl committee will make their pitch in May.
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