The lure of getting a Super Bowl can be a powerful device for shaking public money out of a city and state’s taxpayer tree. The quest to get another Super Bowl likewise can go a long way toward squeezing the city and state to cough up the cash needed to upgrade the venue.
That process already is beginning in Houston. Super Bowl XXXVIII landed there because the stadium was built. Super Bowl LI came via the normal course of bidding for the game. And now it’s becoming increasingly clear that, to get another Super Bowl, the powers-that-be in Houston will be required to improve a stadium that was deemed to be good enough to host the most recent NFL championship game.
The issue has emerged several times in the Houston Chronicle in the aftermath of Super Bowl LI, and the message emanating from the league to the team to the stadium authority to the public is simple, clear, and predictable. With so much intense competition for each and every Super Bowl, any city that hopes to host the game needs to have a state-of-the-art stadium with the various features that state-of-the-art stadiums possess.
The strategy was utilized most recently in Miami, where South Florida fell out of the rotation until a giant carport was placed around the structure in response to the driving rain that soaked the movers and shakers attending Super Bowl XLI. (Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, rebuffed in his efforts to get public money for the project, eventually paid for it himself.)
New Orleans hasn’t been in the mix for a Super Bowl since hosting the 47th edition of the game. Coincidentally (or not), noise is being made about upgrades to the Superdome.
For Houston, a third opportunity to host the game apparently will require various projects aimed at making the stadium as nice as the nicest stadiums that will be getting upcoming Super Bowls, from Minnesota in Super Bowl LII to Atlanta in Super Bowl LIII to Miami in Super Bowl LIV to L.A. in Super Bowl LV.