NFL owners voted on Tuesday to award Super Bowl L to the San Francisco/Bay Area and Super Bowl LI to Houston, Texas.
The Bay Area last hosted a Super Bowl in 1985 and was considered the heavy favorite to receive the historic 50th Super Bowl as construction is well underway on a new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara, 44 miles south of San Francisco. NFL owners had to decide between the Bay Area bid and one from Miami, which has played host to ten Super Bowls.
The bid from the Miami group was considered a long shot for Super Bowl L after the Florida state Legislature failed to vote on a bill that would have provided funding for much-needed renovations to Sun Life Stadium. As the losing bid on Super Bowl L, Miami also bid for Super Bowl LI, but the same stadium issues that doomed the bid for Super Bowl L sunk their hopes of beating out Houston for Super Bowl LI.
Houston has hosted two Super Bowls previously, the most recent being Super Bowl XXXVIII between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots in 2004.
"Congratulations to San Francisco and Houston on Super Bowl L and LI," Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement released by the team. "However, we don't think there's a better place in the country to host Super Bowl than right here in South Florida. I am grateful for the hard work and creative energy that the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee showed in their bid.
"Today’s decision doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm to pursue Super Bowls in the future, since we are steadfast in our belief that those games are good for the South Florida community."
Both San Francisco and Houston were awarded Super Bowls on the first ballot, which means their bids received a "super majority", i.e. 24 of the 32 votes, over the competing bid from Miami. If a new stadium does not materialize in South Florida, or if major improvements are not made to Sun Life Stadium, it might be very long time before the Super Bowl returns to the Miami area.
Next year's Super Bowl will take place at MetLife Stadium, an open-air facility outside of New York City. If that game is a success, other cold-weather cities with outdoor venues could be viewed as possible host cities for future Super Bowls. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, one of the more powerful owners in the league, will be keeping a keen eye on the New York/New Jersey game.
"We would love one day to hold it here if it's a good experience there," Kraft said from Tuesday's meeting in Boston, via Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston. "We're looking forward to seeing this experience in New York and New Jersey.
"It would be great. I sort of like Boston/Providence (as a regional site for the event). This is where it all started. Right here."
If cold weather cities do get the green light to bid on Super Bowls, cities with open-air stadiums like Boston/Providence, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Green Bay, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Denver and Seattle will enter the bidding process. Atlanta and Minneapolis are currently building new indoor stadiums and will certainly look to host a Super Bowl once those venues are completed. As the NFL looks to grow the game overseas, London could join the competition to host future Super Bowls, as could Los Angeles, if the league ever re-enters that huge market.
Dallas and Indianapolis showed in recent years that they're fully capable of hosting a Super Bowl and could join the rotation of cities — Glendale, Arizona (who will host a fourth Super Bowl in 2015), Tampa (four Super Bowls) and New Orleans (ten Super Bowls) — to host the league's biggest event. Miami and San Diego (which has hosted three Super Bowls) both belong in that rotation, but both will continue to be shut out until they resolve their stadium issues.
NFL owners have gathered in Boston, Massachusetts this week for their annual spring meetings. A focal point of this week's meetings will be the announcement of the host cities for Super Bowl L and Super Bowl LI, votes on which will take place on Tuesday.
Owners will choose between presentations from South Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area for the 50th Super Bowl, which will be played in February 2016.
The Bay Area is the favorite to host Super Bowl L as construction is well underway on the San Francisco 49ers' new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara, a little over 40 miles south of the city of San Francisco. Completion of the new stadium, which has seating capacity of up to 75,000 and will be named Levi's Stadium once a naming rights deal is approved, is expected in time for the 2014 season.
San Francisco hosted the Super Bowl in 1985 and was tentatively awarded Super Bowl XXXIII, but could not reach a deal to finance renovations to Candlestick Park and lost the right to host the game.
Meanwhile, the current bid out of South Florida is considered a long shot to host either Super Bowl after the Florida state Legislature recently defeated a bill that would have granted public money for renovations to Sun Life Stadium.
A three-quarters majority, 24 of the 32 owners, are required on the first ballot Tuesday. If neither San Francisco or Miami receives 24 votes on the first ballot, then a simple majority would win on the subsequent ballot.
The losing bid will then compete with a presentation from Houston, Texas to host Super Bowl LI in February 2017. Houston has two Super Bowls, the latest being Super XXXVIII between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium on Feb. 1, 2004. If San Francisco wins the bid to host Super Bowl L, Houston is considered the heavy favorite to host Super Bowl LI the following year.
Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Feb. 2, 2014. Super Bowl XLIX will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Two Florida cities — Tampa and Miami — were finalists in bids to host Super Bowls XLVIII and XLIX.
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