If you thought the criticism surrounding this year's fiasco in New York/New Jersey would force the NFL to reconsider its stance on cold-weather Super Bowls, think again. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Minneapolis was awarded Super Bowl LII for the 2017-18 season after a vote at the league's owners meetings on Tuesday.
Minneapolis beat out fellow finalists New Orleans and Indianapolis. The potential host cities each made their pitch to league ownership prior to the meetings and gave their final case on Tuesday.
Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith noted the final vote came between Minneapolis and New Orleans—a battle of David and Goliath in Super Bowl folklore.
New Orleans has hosted 10 prior Super Bowls, most recently in 2013. The Big Easy is tied with Miami for the most hosting duties in history and has been known to be a reliable venue. With warm weather, a domed stadium and a population used to large influxes of tourism, New Orleans has plenty going in its favor.
Minneapolis, though, had a trump card: a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium. The Vikings' new stadium, tentatively titled Vikings Stadium, broke ground in December 2013. It is expected to be completed for the 2016 season, coinciding with NFL rules that require a year between a stadium's opening and it hosting a Super Bowl.
A domed stadium with numerous amenities designed to make it the most modern stadium in the NFL, taxpayers and the Vikings have set a budget of roughly $1 billion.
New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome opened in 1975 and is one of the NFL's oldest stadiums. It is also the home of one of the biggest Super Bowl fiascoes in history, when a power surge caused a blackout and delayed Super Bowl XLVII after halftime.
It's difficult to tell how much the blackout played a factor, but it's impossible to ignore the discrepancy in stadium age. Three of the last four Super Bowls have been played in stadiums that opened within five years of their hosting season.
The San Francisco 49ers' Levi's Stadium, which opens in 2014, has been announced as the host for Super Bowl L in 2016. The only upcoming Super Bowl currently slated in a stadium more than a decade old is Super Bowl LI, which will be held in Houston.
Minneapolis previously hosted a Super Bowl in 1992 in the Metrodome. Given the league's preference to keep its biggest event in warmer weather climates—incentivizing the most possible tourism—it would definitely take something like a new stadium to secure another Super Bowl.
League owners are certainly taking a risk here.
The NFL nearly had to postpone this season's Super Bowl due to inclement weather in New York City and surrounding areas. While Minneapolis will have a domed stadium, the league still must consider those traveling on dangerous roadways in stormy conditions. On average, Minneapolis is colder than New York City during February, which could lead to some hesitation from tourists.
"We're going to celebrate winter. And we should, because we do it well—better than anyone," Richard Davis, co-chair of the Minneapolis bid committee, recently told reporters.
It seems league owners are prepared to reward citizens for their good faith. Give a new stadium, get a Super Bowl. It may not actually be a mandate, but it sure looks like we're headed in that direction.
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