SBD/January 30, 2014/Events and Attractions

Not So Peachy: How Could Atlanta's Snowstorm Struggles Impact Super Bowl Bid?

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Atlanta could be in contention to host a Super Bowl in '19 or '20
The snowstorm that hit Atlanta this week "likely will not derail any future bid to host a Super Bowl," according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. NFL Senior VP/Communications Greg Aiello in an e-mail wrote, "We would deal with a (Super Bowl) bid from Atlanta at the appropriate time." Ledbetter notes the Falcons "could be in the running for the Super Bowl" in '19 or '20 after completion of their new $1.2B stadium. The city hosted Super Bowls in '94 and '00, but "failed in subsequent bids" after an ice storm disrupted the '00 event. The Falcons, the city and state of Georgia "likely would be required, in light of the recent storm and the ice storm of 2000, to have a workable snow-and-ice removal plan for the metro area in case of bad weather" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/30). In Atlanta, Mark Bradley wrote, "Were I an organization considering where to put a major sporting event staged in the winter months, I’d look elsewhere." Imagine if Atlanta had gotten "two inches of snow on Super Bowl Media Day," and then "imagine adding team buses and media shuttles and Roger Goodell’s limo to the crush that hit our streets Tuesday" (AJC.com, 1/29). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "I have been to Super Bowls in Atlanta when ice storms struck, and you look out your hotel window and see nothing but car crashes." ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "No Super Bowl should ever be awarded to Atlanta. All we did was stay in our rooms, point to the ground and say, 'Look at that'" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/29).

WEATHER NOT THE ONLY FACTOR: In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz wrote it is a "misconception that the NFL rewards Super Bowls based only on weather." The NFL rewards Super Bowls "to every city with a new stadium," so it is "all but guaranteed" that Atlanta will get another after the Falcons stadium is completed. But given recent events, it is "safe to conclude that the Falcons, city officials and the bid committee members will need to come up with an extremely detailed plan for the league about how it would respond to bad weather the week of their centerpiece event" (AJC.com, 1/29).

OH, THE IRONY: In N.Y., Gary Myers writes the "chilly temps aren’t dampening Super Bowl spirits around here, so to the critics of having the game in a cold-weather city, please clam up." Or "better yet, take a look at what’s going on in some traditionally warm-weather cities." New Orleans on Tuesday "all but shut down after an ice storm." Atlanta "had two-to-three inches of snow on Tuesday, paralyzing the city." The "worst weather ever for a Super Bowl was in Miami" for the '07 Bears-Colts Super Bowl, and Sun Life Stadium "is a generation past being state-of-the-art." So while it has "been cold in New York, this is a hot town." Just "head to Times Square and you’ll find out" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/30). The weather in New Orleans this weekend may be colder than in N.Y., prompting Broncos President Joe Ellis to say, "It's good the game isn't down there." Ellis: "We've had a terrific week here. If you look at the weather report, it's going to get warmer and we're going to believe." He added players and coaches "haven't thought about the weather for one minute" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 1/30). NFL Giants Treasurer and Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee co-Chair Jonathan Tisch said, “How ironic is it now that the weather in Atlanta, in New Orleans, in Dallas is worse than it is in New York today?” (“NFL Insiders,” ESPN, 1/29).

PHILLY CHEESE STAKEOUT
: Eagles President Don Smolenski on Tuesday said that if the NFL’s decision to hold Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium "comes off well Sunday, the Eagles are likely to make a bid to have Lincoln Financial Field host the game." In Philadelphia, Mullins & Sielski note the Eagles "have not made a bid to host a Super Bowl" since the facility opened in '03. But Smolenski acknowledged that the team "would probably make a play to host" the game if fans and corporate sponsors "enjoy their experience in North Jersey and weather conditions don’t mar the game." The Eagles yesterday announced a partnership with Panasonic to upgrade the size and number of videoboards at the stadium, and team Owner Jeffrey Lurie "hinted at the idea of a Philly Super Bowl in the summer." It is "hard to believe that the timing" of the stadium upgrades announcement "is a coincidence" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/30). Also in Philadelphia, Marcus Hayes writes the NFL "will not be eager to endure another round of the criticisms that already have accompanied holding an outdoor event during a Northeast winter." Those criticisms "will escalate if Sunday's game becomes an ugly mess." But "certainly, New York, like Philadelphia, has broad enough shoulders to bear the security burden and to entertain the notables who make these sorts of events landmark" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/30).

DOING THEIR RESEARCH: In Indianapolis, Jon Murray reports Indiana Sports Corp Senior VP/Strategy & Operations Susan Baughman and other members of the Indianapolis Super Bowl Committee will embark "on a three-day fact-finding trip" to N.Y. ahead of Sunday's game. Others in the delegation are Committee Vice Chair David Lewis, President Cathy Langham and VP Rafael Sanchez. Indianapolis is competing with Minneapolis and New Orleans for Super Bowl LII in '18, and the three cities "will make final bid presentations to the 32 team owners during their spring meeting May 19-21 in Atlanta" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/30).
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