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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Indy fattens last year's bid, wins right to host 2012 Super Bowl

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- Persistence to be a Super Bowl host has paid off for Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.

After losing the right to host Super Bowl XLV to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones by two votes last year, Irsay and the city of Indianapolis improved their bid by $25 million and were awarded Super Bowl XLVI on Tuesday.

Indianapolis beat out Glendale, Ariz., and Houston in voting at the NFL owners meetings. Houston did not make the final cut in early balloting, leaving Arizona, host of the most recent Super Bowl, for the final selection.

"We couldn't be more excited," Irsay said. "It's been a long process."

Irsay took last year's loss in the voting process hard. With a new stadium and the possibility of 100,000 seats in play for a Dallas Super Bowl, Jones edged out Indianapolis 17-15. Irsay bounced back and convinced his city to make one more attempt.

The game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, which opens this fall.

The only down side to the Colts' good news was that it came on the day owners, including Irsay, voted unanimously to shorten the collective bargaining agreement by two years. Super Bowl XLVI comes in what could be a lockout season. The 2011 season could have major labor issues that could affect that season and the Super Bowl.

"It was difficult coming back and trying to compete against ourselves because we had such a great bid," Irsay said. "But in the end we kept pressing our points."

One of the big selling points to owners is that the city will build a new practice facility for the Super Bowl itself, and the facility then will be given back to the community to be used for the area's young athletes.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.