If, as it appears, Super Bowl XLVIII won’t be flirting with a meteorological disaster, other cities with cold-weather climates but without climate-controlled stadiums will be trying to enter the Super Bowl rotation.
And that’s exactly how the NFL wants it.
It took the league nearly a half-century to realize the power of expanding the universe of potential Super Bowl destinations to include major cities that could experience major snowstorms on the day of the game. With more cities in the mix to host the game, more bids will be submitted. With more bids, the competition increases. As the competition increases, the quality of the bids does, too.
In the end, the NFL and its teams will make a lot more money.
The key will be the weather. Unless and until a blizzard forces the game to be moved by a day or two — or possibly a week — all cities that have the infrastructure to host the game but not a roof on the local stadium will be in play for future Super Bowls.
“Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore are all asking, ‘Is this something we can do?‘”Packers president Mark Murphy recently said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “You’d be amazed how many fans and how many [Packers] shareholders here have asked the same thing.”
While the Green Bay area lacks the hotel rooms and other essentials for putting on the league’s biggest annual party, other cold-weather cities do — and they’ll all be inclined to roll the dice on the chance to roll the dice on the weather.
“I didn’t go in there with the idea this would necessarily open the door to other cities,” Giants co-owner John Mara told Maske of the bidding process that brought Super Bowl XLVIII to New York/New Jersey. “We were in the process of building a new stadium. Certainly the attraction to the other owners of the game being played in the media capital of the world was powerful. [But] I do think if we do a good job and all goes well, it will open the door to other cities, yes.”
The loose, unspoken quid pro quo of public stadium financing also comes into play here. If they build it, the Super Bowl will come. While few open-air stadiums currently need to be replaced in cold-weather cities, the possibility of hosting a Super Bowl could be an important factor when the time comes to build a new venue in Washington.
Inevitably, other buildings used only 10 times per year will be deemed obsolete. If the carrot of the Super Bowl can augment the stick of moving to L.A. or London, taxpayers will continue to subsidize shrewd billionaires.
It’s not something that will happen regularly. Every seven to 10 years should be enough to keep the cold-weather cities interested and the warm-weather cities on their toes. As a result, it could be 50 years or longer until a Super Bowl finally is affected by adverse winter weather.
In the interim, the Super Bowl bidding process will generate more and more money for the entity that has the exclusive power to determine where the game will be played.