SBJ/February 13-19, 2012/Events and Attractions

Grading the field: Potential Super Bowl L hosts

With the successful 46th Super Bowl in the rear-view mirror, the NFL in coming months has a major decision to make: Where to play the highly anticipated 50th rendition of the game, in 2016.

Despite the snafus that greatly affected last year’s game in North Texas, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this month he is strongly considering bidding for the 2016 game, the next one in line to be awarded.

“Absolutely,” Jones responded when asked at this year’s Super Bowl if the region might seek the iconic 50th game. He then reeled of all the positives from last year’s game — near-record attendance, for example — omitting the weather and seating problems that dogged the event.

The NFL traditionally awards Super Bowl sites at its May meeting. Games through 2015 have been awarded, with New Orleans, New York and Arizona hosting the coming three Super Bowls, respectively. If the league were to target that May meeting this year for selection of the Super Bowl L host, that would means bids for 2016 would have to come in by March or April, and the league said it has yet to send out requests for proposals.

According to a league spokesman, “There’s no policy or rule that dictates it has to be done at that meeting.” But, the spokesman continued, if requests for proposals went out in the coming weeks, “there could be a vote in May.”

There has been some talk in past years about hosting the game in Los Angeles, site of the first Super Bowl in 1967, but given the long-running sluggishness of efforts to return the sport to that city, that scenario seems unlikely at the moment.

Speaking of long odds, the Miami Dolphins plan to spearhead a drive to win the game for South Florida. The NFL has made it clear that the team’s Sun Life Stadium home needs significant renovations to be considered for future Super Bowls.

“We have to go with the facilities we have,” said Mike Dee, Dolphins president. Asked who the competition is, Dee replied, “Dallas will bid, New Orleans … you got the new facility in San Francisco, Tampa two years in a row just fell short. Competition has never been greater.”

Tampa most recently bid for the 2015 Super Bowl, which Arizona secured.

The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to move into their new facility in 2014 or 2015, and the league has often awarded Super Bowls to cities with new facilities — witness the Indianapolis game this year.

Indianapolis was considered such a success that municipal leaders, sources said, are already considering a bid for another game.

Santa Clara, Calif.
Rendering: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Pros: The 49ers’ new stadium will open in 2014 or 2015, the first new football stadium in California since the 1960s. A Super Bowl has traditionally gone to new stadiums, especially in warm weather spots. This pick would also return the game to the Golden State for the first time since the 2003 game in San Diego.
Cons: Not many. The NFL may want to award the game to one of its more-traditional host cities, and a Super Bowl here would also be quite spread out, stretching from Santa Clara to San Francisco.
Odds: Good

New Orleans
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Pros: Will be tied with Miami at 10 after next year for having hosted the most Super Bowls. The NFL may want to recognize one of its best Super Bowl cities with the historic game.
Cons: The game will have just been in New Orleans three years earlier (2013). The league prefers more spacing.
Odds: Good

North Texas
Photo by: BUD FORCE
Pros: Huge Cowboys Stadium offers great financial reward to the NFL, it’s a major market, and hey, the weather can’t be as bad as it when hosting last year— can it?
Cons: The NFL is still feeling the effects of the 2011 fiasco, with a federal lawsuit pending against the team and league for seating problems. The region also would have to prove it can be better prepared for weather emergencies.
Odds: Average (It would be worse, but it may be hard for
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
owners to ignore 100,000 seats priced around $1,000.)

Tampa
Pros: Warm weather, has hosted the fourth-most Super Bowls at four and has lost several recent bids, so it could be seen as next in line.
Cons: Downtown Tampa, hardly glamorous, may not be seen as the iconic destination for the 50th game.
Odds: Average
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

Miami
Pros: One of the favorite Super Bowl destinations for visitors.
Cons: The NFL has all but ruled out more Super Bowls here until the stadium is renovated.
Odds: Slight

Indianapolis
Pros: All hail, Indy, the upstart Super Bowl host that blew the
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
socks off everyone earlier this month. The city rewrote the script for staging this event and set the bar higher.
Cons: While Indy certainly appears ready to now bid for another game, it may be too quick a turnaround to get ready for a bid in the coming months. Also, the city will have to address the issue of hotel price gouging, a concern certain to be even more pronounced for the 50th game.
Odds: Slight

Los Angeles
Rendering: LOS ANGELES STADIUM
Rendering: AEG
Pros: Hosted the first Super Bowl and six thereafter, the last in 1993. The NFL’s been trying to get back to the City of Angels since the Rams and Raiders left town after the 1994 season.
Cons: Unless there is a new stadium and team here, this seems unlikely. While those developments could occur by 2016, the league is likely to award the game in the coming months.
Odds: Slight

London
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Pros: What better way to take the NFL international than to stage the 50th Super Bowl at Wembley Stadium. Can you imagine the commissioner’s Super Bowl party at the Tower of London?!
Cons: Hard to imagine owners giving up the opportunity to host this game. If the NFL won’t put Super Bowls in cities with unresolved stadium issues, how does it put the historic 50th game in one without an NFL team (see L.A.)?
Odds: Extremely remote
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