NFL Chooses S.F./Santa Clara, South Florida As Finalists To Host 50th Super Bowl
The NFL yesterday after the conclusion of its owners meetings announced Super Bowl L in ‘16 will be played in either South Florida or in the 49ers’ new Santa Clara stadium. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium was in the running even though he has previously said the venue needs an upgrade. Asked about this inconsistency, he replied a renovation could be part of the final bid. Owners will choose the winner in May. The loser will then square off the same day against the Texans' Reliant Stadium to host Super Bowl LI in '17 (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis writes the question is whether the 25-year-old Sun Life Stadium "will measure up against the state-of-the-art facility in Santa Clara due to open in 2014 or Houston’s 10-year-old Reliant Stadium, which features a retractable roof.” Before South Florida held Super Bowl XLIV in ‘10, Goodell “cautioned about the need for upgrades to the stadium to remain a viable site.” That led to an unsuccessful attempt by the Dolphins "to obtain hotel tax revenue to help fund" more than $200M in renovations. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said that there was “no promise of stadium improvements in the application submitted to the NFL in August for the two games.” Dee said that the Dolphins have “not renewed an effort to seek funding for renovations and currently have no working plan for further alterations to the stadium.” NFL Senior VP/Special Events Frank Supovitz said that there was “no discussion of stadium improvements in the process of narrowing the field for the two games.” Davis writes the “strongest argument for South Florida is its track record in staging Super Bowls and other major events” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/17).
NO PARAMETERS ON IMPROVEMENTS: Dee said that to “this point at least, the league has put no parameters on minimum improvements that must be made" for South Florida's bid. In West Palm Beach, Brian Biggane notes South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee Chair Rodney Barreto “sounded as if he expects those specifics to come later, and he wants to be ready for them” (PALM BEACH POST, 10/17). Meanwhile, in Miami, Beasley & Hanks note while the NFL has “recently given greater weight to the condition of a potential venue than its location, there is a feeling within the Dolphins organization that the NFL might make an exception with Super Bowl L” (MIAMI HERALD, 10/17).
BACK TO THE BAY? In Sacramento, Matthew Barrows writes there is “reason to be optimistic that the Bay Area could host the marquee event,” as the NFL “likes Super Bowls in new venues, and the 49ers will have the newest stadium when Super Bowl L rolls around.” Teams are “required to play two seasons in new stadiums before hosting a Super Bowl, meaning the 49ers will qualify if they open their $1.2 billion stadium in 2014 as expected.” There also would be a “nice bit of symmetry if the Bay Area gets to host Super Bowl L.” The first Super Bowl was played in California -- in L.A. in ’67 (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/17). Sports consultant Andy Dolich said it was "always in the planning" for the 49ers stadium that the Super Bowl "would be a Bay Area event.” The Oakland Tribune's Monte Poole said the NFL “has always loved the Bay Area," but it "didn’t love the facilities.” With the new stadium, Poole said the Bay Area will be in the rotation to host the Super Bowl “every five or six years” (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 10/16). Meanwhile, in San Jose, Mike Rosenberg notes the 49ers have “star power behind the effort" to land a Super Bowl, naming Charles Schwab, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and a "who's-who of business leaders to their Super Bowl Bid Committee.” S.F. Mayor Ed Lee named philanthropist Daniel Lurie "to lead the Super Bowl Bid Committee.” The 17-member bid committee also includes Visa CEO Joe Saunders, 49ers President Gideon Yu and former MLB Giants President Pat Gallagher, but “no one from Santa Clara is on the committee” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/17).
TEXAS TWO-STEP: In Houston, John McClain noted if everything “goes according to an ambitious plan devised by city and county leaders, Houston will host its third Super Bowl in 2017.” Texans Owner Bob McNair said, “This is acknowledgement from the league that Houston did a great job in 2004. That was a very successful Super Bowl. They know we’re very capable.” Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau Chair Emeritus Don Henderson said, “They changed the way cities bid on the Super Bowl. After Indianapolis, we took a couple of years off to figure out how we were going to make our bid incredible, and we have.” The league under the new process “asks cities if they’re interested,” and the cities “say yes or no.” Then the league “selects what cities submit official bids.” Later, the cities “find out -- as Houston, San Francisco and Miami did Tuesday -- that they’ve been selected as finalists” (CHRON.com, 10/16). Meanwhile, in Ft. Worth, Charean Williams noted the committee’s decision yesterday “means North Texas won't host its second Super Bowl until at least 2018, and it seems unlikely the committee would put back-to-back Super Bowls in Texas” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/17).
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE: In Chicago, Sean Jensen noted Bears Chair George McCaskey “remains hopeful” that Soldier Field could host the game and “pointed to the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey as a key for cold-weather cities.” McCaskey said, “I don’t think they’ll consider an outdoor, cold-weather site until they see how that game goes. It’ll be very interesting to see. I know the Mayor (Rahm Emanuel) is interested. We’ve got some challenges that have to be overcome” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/17).
NO SHARING: Raiders Owner Mark Davis said that he has “no plans to share” the 49ers’ new stadium. Davis said, "I give the 49ers all the credit in the world for getting a shovel in the ground in California. That's phenomenal. But we're trying to get our situation right. It's not easy to do." Davis said that the “best-case scenario would be to keep the Raiders in Oakland and build a new stadium on the current site of O.co Coliseum, or at another viable site in Dublin, Calif.” (NFL.com, 10/16).