Houston's Super Bowl Bid Committee Introduces James Baker As Honorary Chair
Texans Owner Bob McNair yesterday formally introduced former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker “as the honorary chairman of Houston’s Super Bowl LI bid committee,” according to Dale Robertson of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Camden Property Trust Chair & CEO Richard Campo “will formally chair the bid committee and work closely with Baker through the NFL owners meetings on May 22, when McNair and his 31 colleagues will choose the sites for Super Bowls L and LI.” The 50th game in ‘16 will "go to either the San Francisco Bay area or Miami,” and the runner-up “gets to square off against Houston for the game in 2017.” Baker said, “Lobbying is lobbying, and I see this as a lobbying effort to some extent.” He declined to “predict the outcome of his and the committee’s efforts.” But he said, “I’m rock-solid certain the Houston bid will be first-class, one that all Houstonians can be proud of.” McNair “personally negotiated" Super Bowl XXXVIII for Houston in '04 in return for agreeing to pay a record $800M expansion fee to "bring pro football back to Houston.” McNair said, “We should just do everything we can to make our bid as attractive as possible, and that includes making Reliant Park as attractive as possible" (CHRON.com, 2/25).
DIFFERENCE MAKER: McNair said that Baker “can influence owners on his reputation alone.” McNair: “In most cases, it would not make a difference. In his case, he's such a respected figure that it'll register with the owners.” Baker: “Hopefully, they will be able to think well for what I've done for this country. I would expect to be able to sit down and talk to them and try to convince them that Houston is indeed the best venue for the 51st Super Bowl.” McNair and Campo said that the city “will make a more enticing pitch this time, with a 1,000-room hotel scheduled to open downtown in 2016 and an east-west light-rail line downtown expected to be running by April 2014.” The AP’s Chris Duncan noted Reliant Stadium “will have the largest scoreboards in any venue in the world.” But a “key sticking point in the whole process is the fate of the Astrodome, which sits unused and rotting next door to Reliant Stadium" (AP, 2/25).