Super Bowl XLVIII will be remembered for the possibility of moving the game to a different day. Super Bowl XLIX could be remembered for the possibility of moving the game to a different state.
With Arizona potentially passing a law that would allow business owners to deny service to gay couples on religious grounds, the NFL could be pulling the plug on the next Super Bowl, which is due to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” the NFL said in a statement issued to Albert Breer of NFL Network. “We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”
Asked by Breer whether the league has an alternate site picked for Super Bowl XLIX, the league declined comment. And all that that implies.
It wouldn’t be easy to move the game to a new location. Apart from a suitable stadium, the host city needs available hotel space, a convention center for media events and Radio Row, and a security plan.
Ultimately, the league’s owners would decide whether the Super Bowl would be moved. That requires 24 of them to agree to what would be an unprecedented course of action, which surely would cost plenty of money.
The effort to legitimize discrimination against gays comes less than a month after Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill complained about Glendale’s failure to fully embrace the obligations of hosting the Super Bowl. If the Glendale doesn’t want the game, Arizona may help them shed that burden.