New Orleans had a perfect record when it came to Super Bowl bids. But, NFL owners like rewarding cities that build expensive publicly funded stadiums even more than they love the Crescent City.
Minneapolis will be the home of Super Bowl LII in 2018, beating New Orleans in the final vote on Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. The NFL has made it clear that if you build a stadium, as Minnesota is doing with the help of $498 million in public funds, it will do everything it can to get your city the big game. Nothing else matters. Not the fan experience, the weather during the week, or anything else. After all, NFL owners might want their own new stadium someday, and they'll want the tax money to make sure they don't pay for it. Minnesota’s new dome will open for the 2016 season.
“I think it had a great deal to do with it, and we want to thank our public for giving that support,” US Bank CEO and Minneapolis Super Bowl committee co-chair Richard Davis told NFL Network about how much public tax money led to winning the bid. “It’s $498 million, one of the largest public-private partnerships, I think in the history of the NFL.”
New Orleans had been 10-for-10 when it bid on the Super Bowl. The city will be celebrating its 300th birthday in 2018. But, it plays in an old stadium, the Superdome. Feel free to wonder when the next pitch for public funds for a new stadium in New Orleans will come. It’ll surely include the reality that without a new stadium it’ll be harder to compete with cities that have new tax-funded stadiums for future Super Bowls. The Big Easy put up a good fight against Minneapolis and its new stadium, however.
Indianapolis, a very good host for big sporting events (and one that got a Super Bowl shortly after Lucas Oil Stadium was built mostly through tax money), was eliminated early in the process, leaving Minnesota and New Orleans to battle for the bid. There was no supermajority in the third round of votes. Only a simple majority was needed in the fourth round, and Minneapolis got it.
When commissioner Roger Goodell announced Minneapolis had won the Super Bowl, the NFL Network showed the committee erupt in celebration. Minneapolis is a nice city, and surely will put on a good show. Minneapolis hosted Super Bowl XXVI so it’s not the first time. Minneapolis has hosted many big sporting events without a problem. But this had nothing to do with the best city for the game. Unless Las Vegas gets a 100,000-seat stadium and the NFL gives up its disingenuous crusade against gambling, or New York gets a different climate, New Orleans will always be the best city to host the Super Bowl. Good luck finding anyone that would choose to spend early February in Minneapolis rather than New Orleans. This vote had absolutely zero to do with that.
Goodell said he sensed after the vote that the efforts the Vikings and Minneapolis put into getting the stadium built was a big factor for the owners. The league doesn't deny that new stadiums are a huge factor in the decision.
"The new stadiums are obviously a big factor and I think drive and influence the owners’ perspective," Goodell said in his press conference shown on the NFL Network.
Billionaire owners like when one of their own pulls off the trick of getting millions in public tax money to build stadiums. If you can pull off that feat, there's an unspoken promise of a Super Bowl in the future. New Orleans got that message very clearly on Tuesday.
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