Miami-Dade’s tourism bureau faces more pressure to endorse holding the 2016 Super Bowl during the Miami International Boat Show and drop objections that there aren’t enough hotel rooms in the Miami area to handle both events.
On Tuesday the mayor of Miami-Dade County, which helps fund the bureau, all but endorsed holding both events on the same weekend if the National Football League opts to move the championship game to President’s Day Weekend, the Boat Show’s home for decades.
“We can hold two parties at once,’’ Mayor Carlos Gimenez said during a County Commission discussion on pursuing the Super Bowl.
The Miami Dolphins and the team’s backers on the South Florida Super Bowl organizing committee contend downtown Miami is capable of holding Super Bowl during Boat Show, which is primarily based at the Miami Beach Convention Center. On Tuesday, the committee picked a downtown Miami hotel to announce new celebrity spokesmen for the region’s Super Bowl bid: Dolphin greats Bob Griese, Dan Marino and Jason Taylor.
“I think every Super Bowl, personally, should be in South Florida,’’ Marino said from the stage at the Intercontinental Miami hotel on downtown’s waterfront. “I’ve been telling people that for years.”
South Florida is competing against San Francisco for 2016, and the loser will take on Houston for the 2017 Super Bowl. Though South Florida has already hosted a record 10 Super Bowls, the latest campaign for the big game has brought new tensions.
For the first time, Broward and Miami-Dade were required to make separate presentations to the Super Bowl group, which intends to pick one “urban core” to be the hub for pre-game activities. Meanwhile, team executives are still mulling another push for tax dollars to renovate Sun Life Stadium, improvements NFL executives have said would help South Florida’s Super Bowl bid.
Broward’s tourism director, Nicki Grossman, drove from Fort Lauderdale to Miami for the Super Bowl committee’s first public event for the 2016 bid. The presentation included unveiling the group’s new logo featuring palm trees and the Roman numerals of the Super Bowls held in the Dolphins’ home stadium since 1968.
In past years, the Host Committee has held bid events at Sun Life Stadium. Rodney Barreto, a partner in one of Miami-Dade’s top lobby firms and long-time chair of the Super Bowl committee, said picking the Intercontinental for the unveiling wasn’t a sign that Miami leads Fort Lauderdale in the competition. “We have not made a decision,” he said. “We feel this is neutral territory.”
William Talbert, president of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, attended the event but declined to talk to The Miami Herald about the Boat Show issue afterward. But in comments to television reporters Tuesday, he seemed to back off a statement last month that “it’s not physically possible in Miami to host Super Bowl during the President’s Day weekend.” Talbert told WSVN at the Intercontinental: “To the extent that we can secure sufficient hotel rooms, it works.”
With NFL owners pushing the players’ union for an extended season, the league has begun asking cities to prepare for a Super Bowl held later than usual. In 2010 and 2011, the NFL requested that cities bid on three potential weekends for future Super Bowls, including President’s Day. But given the Boat Show conflict, South Florida declined and instead offered Super Bowl proposals for the other two weekends. South Florida lost out both times.