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Volume 24 No. 117

Events and Attractions

NFL owners yesterday voted to host Super Bowl L in '16 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, while Reliant Stadium in Houston will host Super Bowl LI in '17 (NFL). In San Jose, Mike Rosenberg in a front-page piece reports although the "exact vote tally is kept secret, the Bay Area became the first region in eight years to win a Super Bowl hosting gig during the first round of NFL owners' votes, which require a three-fourths majority." The vote was "widely expected since the only other competition, South Florida, saw its bid fizzle in recent weeks" after the Florida Legislature declined to place on the ballot a $350M measure to renovate Sun Life Stadium. NFL Senior VP/Events Frank Supovitz said that the league was "particularly impressed with the heavyweight Silicon Valley companies that came on board and the pledge to donate 25 percent of the money raised toward local charities." That says "nothing of the Bay Area's plan for a free, two-weekend 'Super Bowl City' event" around S.F.'s Embarcadero district. Both Supovitz and 49ers CEO Jed York "alluded to the symmetry of playing the NFL's 50th anniversary game in the California," which hosted the first Super Bowl in L.A. in '67 (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/22). Bay Area Super Bowl Bid Committee members said that the game and its affiliated events “will be a boon for the region, attracting visitors who will roam from Napa to Carmel, filling hotel rooms and frequenting businesses.” In S.F., John Cote in a front-page piece reports while the game will be played in Santa Clara, many of the lead-up events “will be held in San Francisco." The bid committee yesterday announced that it will partner with Boston Consulting Group's S.F. office to "establish a host committee with staff, a CEO and board of directors to run day-to-day operations and likely set up offices” in S.F. and the South Bay. Their task will “include figuring out the logistics of moving around thousands of people and coordinating the numerous Super Bowl-related events” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/22).

SETTING THE BAR HIGH: NFL Network's Albert Breer reported the decision to give Levi's Stadium Super Bowl L is about "trying to set the stage for the next 50 Super Bowls." This game will be the "most technologically advanced Super Bowl ever in the most technologically advanced stadium ever built for an NFL team." Levi's Stadium is a "beacon of the future for the NFL" ("NFL Total Access," NFLN, 5/21). NFL Network's Eric Davis said, “After coming to Santa Clara, with all the whistles and bells and all the technology that’s going to be in this stadium, that’s what they’re going to be looking for. The bar’s going to be set even higher. It’s going to be even more difficult for Miami or any other city that doesn’t have an up-to-date stadium” ("NFL AM, NFLN, 5/22).’s Matt Maiocco noted Levi's Stadium will be able to “provide wireless connections for the 75,000 fans expected to attend Super Bowl L,” as there will be a “green room and solar panels that will provide all the power needed for games.” Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said, "It's an innovative stadium. Personally, I love San Francisco. It's like Boston. It's like a European city. I love being there. I think it's really classy” (, 5/21).

DOWN BY THE BAY: In San Jose, Mark Purdy notes the winning bid is “a watershed moment for the way people look at sports in Northern California.” Fans can “primarily credit" York and bid chair Daniel Lurie, "who had promised the project would involve as many area codes as possible.” But S.F. Mayor Ed Lee and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews also “from the start decided not to have an attitude.” They even invited San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed “into the mix of planning, realizing that the Bay Area's largest city was going to be needed for pulling together such a large project” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/22). In S.F., Ann Killion writes York and the bid committee “should get tremendous kudos,” as they have “built a stadium and won the right to host a Super Bowl, something it seemed may never happen again here” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/22).’s Mike Sando wrote the winning bid is “another sign of progress for the team” under York (, 5/21). A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial states, “It's also a terrific example of what regional collaboration can accomplish. From San Jose to San Francisco, political, civic and business leaders pulled together to make it happen. Can an Olympics bid be far behind?” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/22). 

HOUSTON, WE HAVE LIFT OFF: In Houston, John McClain reported Houston will make Super Bowl LI “a 10-day experience and invite fans from Mexico, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and Beaumont to come early and party hardy downtown at Discovery Green and take advantage of the NFL Experience in the George R. Brown Convention Center.” South Florida politicians “fumbling its bid obviously played a significant role in Houston winning.” But Houston also “had an outstanding bid committee that was backed by dedicated business leaders and politicians like mayor Annise Parker and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.” The NFL and team owners were “impressed with Houston showing it wants to set a standard for host cities.” Texans Owner Bob McNair “pointed out that Houston plans to reach out to Mexico in an attempt to lure more fans.” The Discovery Green area -- from Minute Maid Park to the Toyota Center -- is going to be called “Super Bowl El Centro” as officials “hope to attract close to 500,000 to the area over the 10-day period” (, 5/21). Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said, “The presentation was one of the best I’ve ever seen. They talked about what football meant to Texas. The other thing is that Bob McNair came into the league as maybe one of the top four or five owners and has probably elevated himself up to the best one.” Kraft said, “There was a certain goodwill factor for Bob McNair and what he means to the league” (, 5/21). NFL Network's Desmond Purnell reported the unique thing about Houston's bid "was their plan to make Super Bowl LI the first international Super Bowl ever." Purnell: "They're hoping to attract more than 3 million national and international visitors" ("NFL Total Access," NFLN, 5/21).

DO THE EVOLUTION: In Houston, Randy Harvey in a front-page piece writes Houston “didn't win the vote because of a scoreboard.” Rather, Houston Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Ric Campo said it won because Houston has “evolved into a very cosmopolitan city.” Houston “represents the present,” and Miami lost both votes “because all it had to sell was the past” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/22). But Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said Houston was "in the right place at the right time," as they were going against the Miami bid "at a time when Miami just couldn't win." Florio: "Any city versus Miami for Super Bowl LI was going to beat Miami" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 5/21). 

SAVE THE DATE? YAHOO SPORTS’ Jason Cole noted the NFL did not "attach an exact date to either one of those games” in their announcements yesterday. Both organizing groups are “preparing for the game to be on one of the first three Sundays in February in 2016 and 2017, respectively” (, 5/21).

The NFL owners yesterday "didn't merely snub South Florida twice in a matter of minutes" by voting to give Super Bowls L and LI to S.F. and Houston, respectively, but they also signaled Sun Life Stadium is "no longer a viable site for the league’s premier game," according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Both games were "awarded on the first vote," the first time that has occurred in several years. South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Rodney Barreto put the "responsibility on members of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation who helped scuttle the recent stadium funding bill in the Florida House of Representatives." Barreto said, "I think there are a couple state reps in Miami-Dade that are going to look in the mirror tonight and regret what they’ve done to Miami. The Super Bowl probably ain’t coming back for another 10 years.” Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross said, "I’ve been saying for a while that we need to do something to our stadium. I think everybody in that room would rather be in Miami in February than they would anywhere else in the country. I think nobody knows how to host a Super Bowl better than Miami.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “I had a couple of owners that did express to me privately that the condition of the stadium was an important factor in their vote.” Davis notes South Florida, which has hosted a record 10 Super Bowls, "apparently will join San Diego as an appealing warm-weather destination with a stadium considered unsuitable for the game" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/22). The NFL has to invite cities to make formal Super Bowl bids, and Barreto following Tuesday’s votes said, "I don’t know why they would invite us back next year." Dolphins CEO Mike Dee: "It's hard to overcome having the oldest facility that regularly competes now for Super Bowls" (PALM BEACH POST, 5/22).

A STUNNING TURNAROUND: In N.Y., Judy Battista writes the fact South Florida was "viewed by owners as a less-than-serious contender for the two future games was a stunning turnaround from the results that were forecast a few weeks ago, when Miami was considered the favorite to host the 50th game." But that was "before a plan to hold a local referendum on the use of tax dollars and rebates to pay for stadium renovations collapsed" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). NFL Network's Rick Eisen noted the "animosity" in Miami-Dade County "towards building new facilities just sunk the bid." NFL Net's Steve Wyche said, "Let's see if the South Florida Super Bowl Committee goes back to the voters, to the city, and says, 'Look what happened now. We could be out of the rotation'" (NFL Net, 5/21). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said, "The NFL had made it clear that to get the Super Bowl back in South Florida, that stadium needs to be upgraded and renovated" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 5/21). Goodell: "I can tell you that I think the stadium is a very important part of any of these proposals. The condition of the stadium is a factor. I think it's the stadium, at the end of the day. Their proposal was really quite exciting. I think owners would like to be in Miami. But it's competitive right now" (AP, 5/21). In Ft. Lauderdale, Daniel Vasquez writes under the header, "Shame On Florida Lawmaker For Throwing Away Miami Dolphins Super Bowl Bid" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/22).

SENDING A MESSAGE: In Miami, Armando Salguero writes yesterday's vote sends a "chilling message that perhaps Miami has lost its prized status as a recurring host within the Super Bowl rotation." Miami will see a "minimum eight-year hiatus from the game," and it is "possible that gap between games may widen if the NFL continues to award games to cities that build new stadiums." Atlanta and Minneapolis both are planning for new stadiums, and Dallas and Indianapolis "plan to continue bidding on games after building new facilities that won Super Bowl bids and successfully hosted games" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/22). NFL Network’s Eric Davis said the "biggest headline" from yesterday's votes is that South Florida will not be in the Super Bowl rotation "for a while.” Davis: "I am one that personally believes that Miami should be in heavy rotation. ... You should have it looping all the time and it should jump in there." But the league is telling the Dolphins the "infrastructure of your stadium ... better be up to date.” He added Miami is a "great city to host it, but the stadium has to be able to house it." NFL Net's Mark Kriegel said, "Tradition is nice, but if you don’t build it, we won’t come. That’s essentially the message" ("NFL AM," NFL Net, 5/22).

NEEDING SOME HELP: NFL Network's Jeff Darlington said it is "going to be a very difficult process" for the Dolphins as they attempt to garner public funds to help renovate Sun Life Stadium. Ross was "willing to put up 70 percent of private funding" for the renovations prior to the legislature not voting on the bill, and he "does not plan on spending" 100% of the money required ("NFL Total Access," NFL Net, 5/21). Ross said, "I can't do it alone. I think I went out further than any owner has ever gone out in offering to a city to really put up money and deliver a new, modernized stadium. I think I'm going to have to do it with local people. I think they'll realize that in Miami, the weather alone won’t bring Super Bowls and other marquee events" (NFL Network, 5/21).

The Indianapolis Super Bowl bid committee later this summer is “expected to formally approve a motion that would allow the formal bidding process to begin” on Super Bowl LII in ’18, according to Michael Marot of the AP. The vote for the '18 game is expected to be held next May. Indiana Sports Corp. President Allison Melangton said that she “expected Indianapolis to join the 2018 Super Bowl fray later this year.” New Orleans already has “announced its intention to bid, trying to incorporate the big game into the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city." Denver also “has expressed interest,” but may have to "make its formal bid before reviews come in from this year's Super Bowl” in N.Y./N.J. South Florida also could make another bid after failing yesterday to land either Super Bowl L or LI, but Melangton noted that when the Florida state legislature “failed to pass a stadium-funding measure, it may have cost the city the Super Bowl” (AP, 5/21).

BOSTON COMMON: Patriots Owner Robert Kraft yesterday at the NFL owners’ meetings discussed the possibility of hosting a Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium pending the results from this February's game at MetLife Stadium. Kraft said, “We would love one day to hold it here, if it’s a good experience there. Let’s see how it goes.” NFL Senior VP/Events Frank Supovitz said that the league has “heard from several cold-weather owners wanting to get in on the Super Bowl process.” In Boston, Ben Volin notes Giants President & CEO John Mara “knows that owners in Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, and elsewhere will be paying close attention to New York’s performance.” Mara: “I assume that if we do a good job with ours, that other cities will put bids in. Why not?” (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/22). But in Boston, Ron Borges writes a Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium “won’t be happening any time soon for several reasons.” Many of the cities receiving the game "got it in part as payback for the public funding of new stadiums or massive stadium renovations.” Meanwhile, the “spirit of cooperation between business and political entities that was praised by those representing the winning bids” from S.F. and Houston “seldom seems to exist here.” That is “the same problem that derailed Miami” (BOSTON HERALD, 5/22).

BIRDS NESTING: Falcons Owner Arthur Blank after receiving $200M in funding yesterday for a new stadium said that he “expects Atlanta to bid” for Super Bowl LIII in ’19, the “first Super Bowl that the new retractable-roof stadium will be eligible to host.” Blank said, “We will be bidding. We will be in the bidding process. We think that is the year that makes the most sense for us at this point.” In Atlanta, Tim Tucker notes a "decision on the 2019 game probably won’t come for two years.” Under league rules, a stadium “cannot host a Super Bowl until it has operated for at least one full year.” The new Falcons stadium is “scheduled to open in 2017, making the 2018 season -- or the February 2019 Super Bowl -- its first opportunity for the mega-event.” Bidding for a Super Bowl “long has been part of the plan for the new Falcons stadium, but Blank was more specific about the target year than the franchise had been previously.” He said that the team has “notified the league of Atlanta’s interest in bidding” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/22).

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck noted communities seemingly need a new or upgraded stadium to "get a shot" at hosting a Super Bowl, and he asked, "How long should these stadiums last?" He noted Blank "is looking for money from the NFL for a new stadium, and that's a 20-year-old stadium." Hasselbeck said he did not know if it is a "healthy trend" to build new stadiums frequently to attract a Super Bowl ("NFL 32," ESPN2, 5/21).

SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith yesterday "backtracked slightly" about possibly moving the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but he "made it clear he’s unhappy with the political situation in North Carolina," according to Mark Anderson of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Smith in a statement yesterday said, "No final decision has been made regarding any race date move, and I have not discussed this with NASCAR." He "went on to tout" the $100M investment made at CMS by SMI over the past six years. Smith: “It’s frustrating to think about the future and consider that the local government doesn’t share the same excitement about Charlotte Motor Speedway that our fans do" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/22). In Charlotte, Adam Bell notes CMS' taxes in Cabarrus County have "doubled over the past few years, but it is appealing the tax valuations that led to those bills." A county assessment in '12 of the CMS property put the value at about $294M, with a tax bill of nearly $2.1M. The county said that the appeal "will be taken up at the local level in June." CMS also "appealed an earlier revaluation" covering '08-11, and that appeal is "pending at the state level." Bell notes Cabarrus County and the city of Concord have "heard Smith’s threats before." Smith in '07 "vowed to move the speedway out of Concord if the city did not approve his plans for an adjacent drag strip." Local political and business leaders "publicly and privately lobbied Smith to stay." An $80M government incentives package "ultimately persuaded Smith to stay and build the drag strip, although Smith later quarreled with local leaders over implementation of the incentives" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/22).