Later today, NFL owners will vote on the location for Super Bowl L. (For those of you complaining about the use of the letter “L” to designate the 50th Super Bowl, do you forget that we’ve already endured a “Super Bowl XXX”?) Then, the NFL owners will vote on the location for Super Bowl LI.
South Florida faces an uphill climb in both votes (one against San Franciscoclara, and then one against Houston, barring an upset win over San Franciscoclara) because the powers-that-be failed to secure public funding for upgrades at Sun Life Stadium. The NFL’s “no Super Bowls without an improved stadium” threat/promise comes off as weak if the owners give South Florida a Super Bowl anyway.
One of the most influential owners believes that public money should have been used to renovate the stadium, even though he’s one of the only owners who built his stadium exclusively with private funds.
“If we’re doing Super Bowls, the community should pitch in,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today.
The point is that, when a city enters the Super Bowl rotation, the stadium becomes something more than the place where the local football team plays its games. If the Super Bowl is coming to town once every five years (or, as it happened for Miami most recently, twice in the three-year window from February 2007 through February 2010), the stadium has a different level of value for the place where it’s located, because hosting a Super Bowl brings significant money and worldwide attention to the place where it is played.
Still, with the Marlins debacle and the current mood against what has been described persuasively as “welfare for billionaires,” the citizens and politicians have a hard time seeing the investment of public dollars as a benefit to the region.
Even if, you know, it is.