The competitive streak in Allison Melangton soon will be put to the ultimate test.
This week, Melangton, the Indiana Sports Corp. president who presided over Indianapolis’ Super Bowl Host Committee in the years leading up to Super Bowl XLVI, learned that New Orleans planned to bid on the 2018 Super Bowl in conjunction with what will be the city’s 300th anniversary.
New Orleans’ announcement comes six months after Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard officially announced his city’s plans to bid for the 2018 game.
But if the former Colorado State University gymnast is even slightly discouraged by having to bid against a 10-time host, she’s not showing it.
THE MELANGTON FILE
Name: Allison Melangton
Job: President, Indiana Sports Corp.
Born: Auburn, Maine
Family: Husband, Tom; son, Cameron, 19
High school: Edward Little High School (Auburn, Maine), 1979
College: Colorado State University
Major: Sports administration
“New Orleans does a great job, but this (news) didn’t really burst our bubble,” said Melangton, 51, who has been in New Orleans since Tuesday examining the city’s strategies involving everything from crowd control to parking before and during Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“It’s going to be fierce competition no matter who it is. I think we would be at a disadvantage possibly had we not executed the Super Bowl so well. I think it’s a level playing field.”
This week represents the seventh Super Bowl attended by Melangton. By speaking with influential host committee and NFL personnel in Super Bowl cities such as Tampa, Dallas and now New Orleans, she has a fairly good grasp on what works and what doesn’t.
“At this point Indianapolis intends to bid for 2018, and that bid will not be due until May 2014,” Melangton said, noting this window of time is critical as it enables her to also study how New York City conducts business when hosting the first cold-weather Super Bowl played in an outdoor stadium on Feb. 2, 2014.
“We have two Super Bowls to stay on top of the changes,” she said. “I’m down here taking notes, watching New Orleans and making sure we have our head in the game.”
NFL owners in May will vote on which cities will host the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls. Expected to make formal presentations are Houston, Miami and San Francisco. The 49ers are in the process of constructing a new 69,000-seat stadium in nearby Santa Clara, Calif., which is scheduled to open in 2015.
San Francisco has yet to host, which could make it the sentimental favorite to host in 2016 for what will be the 50th Super Bowl. It is speculated the NFL would like nothing more than to have this game played on California soil, as was Super Bowl I, which took place in Los Angeles’ venerable Memorial Stadium.
Houston is a two-time host (1974 and 2004), while Miami, like New Orleans, is a 10-time Super Bowl city (four in the Orange Bowl, the past six in Sun Life Stadium).
Concerns over the need for significant upgrades to Sun Life Stadium, opened in August 1987, could put Houston in the driver’s seat for the 2017 Super Bowl should San Francisco get the green light to host the previous February.
Melangton will pay close attention regardless of how league owners vote. Houston, Miami and San Francisco are all warm-weather cities, so after New York City hosts in 2014 and Phoenix the following year, it’s believed Indy’s impeccable record preparing for what could best be described as unpredictable weather conditions will serve it well in the eyes of NFL owners.
Along with New Orleans, Melangton suspects a dark horse could emerge for the 2018 bid in the city of Minneapolis. The Twin Cities hosted Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 but hasn’t been considered a viable contender since then as a result of the worsening condition of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, now in its 31st year of use.
However, with ground on a new Vikings Stadium scheduled to be broken this October and completion expected sometime in 2016, Minneapolis could emerge as an attractive Super Bowl destination.
“Now that we’ve done the bidding process twice, it’s a little easier,” Melangton said, referring to the May 2007 decision in which Dallas beat out Indianapolis and Phoenix to host in 2011 (Indy won its bid the following May). “The competition is going to be tough. We’ll see who is awarded the 2016 and ‘17 Super Bowls, and then we can analyze who our competition will be for 2018.”