May 25, 2010: Add the New Meadowlands Stadium to the list of venues that have their name attached to the Super Bowl.
It took four rounds of voting by NFL owners, but the New York-New Jersey home of the Giants and Jets will host its first Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 9 or 16, 2014, depending on the format of that season, according to the NFL, which is considering adding games to its regular season schedule. The site was selected over South Florida and Tampa to be the venue for the game and surrounding festivities regarding what will be Super Bowl XLVIII.
The victory not only gives the New York metropolitan area the potential to see a financial reward — host cities have realized between $300-$500 million in revenue based on the game and surrounding events and the winning host committee was targeting $550 million in revenue as a selling point — but could also hasten the signing of a naming rights deal for the stadium. A potential naming rights for the 82,500-seat New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, could have brought in as much as $500 million over 20 years prior to landing the Super Bowl, but the price tag is likely to be higher due to the global exposure any company would receive between now and February 2014.
Although observers were predicting that New York-New Jersey would win, it wasn't the "lock" that many said it could be. There was no winner on the first ballot, when a site needed 24 of 32 votes, 75% of the ballots. There also was no winner on the second ballot, which also required 75% of the ballots, but South Florida was eliminated as being the region with the lowest vote total. The site was still undetermined on a third ballot, also needing 24 of 32 votes.
New York-New Jersey won on the fourth and final ballot, during which only a majority of votes was needed, giving the NFL its first Super Bowl location in a cold weather climate in an open-air stadium.
"The clubs have reached a decision on the site of Super Bowl XLVIII," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said holding the final tally after the fourth round of voting. However, he left the two remaining contingents waiting with baited breath. "Before announcing it let me thank again all three of the committees: New York-New Jersey, Tampa and South Florida for their tremendous presentations in support of the Super Bowl. No doubt that all three would make great hosts for the Super Bowl. Now here is the decision of the clubs: Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014 will be played in New York-New Jersey."
Although each committee had the opportunity to present their case, the New York-New Jersey pitch may have been the most unusual in Super Bowl history. Given the potential for bad weather, NFL owners heard about such things as heated seat cushions, parking lot fire pits and a standby contingent of personnel ready to dig out any snow. The Web site for the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium even proclaimed after the announcement, "Check the antifreeze, grab the mittens, make sure the airport's not buried in snow. New York-New Jersey get Super Bowl XLVIII."
"I hope it snows," Woody Johnson, owner of the Jets, said after the decision. "I like doing things for the first time." And with a nod to the slogan selected by the winning host committee, "Make some history," Johnson proclaimed, "We are making history."
Also part of the winning bid was that Super Bowl XLVIII would become part of some legendary events in New York, including the Macy's Day Parade and New Year's Eve events in Time Square. Not by coincidence, a crowd was gathered in Times Square, watching the proceedings on a big screen set up by the NFL and NFL Network, which broadcast live for the first time the owners voting on Super Bowl site. It also aired live on NFL.com.
Although there currently is no coporate name above the marquee, the New Meadowlands Stadium currently has several cornerstone corporate partners, including PepsiCo, Met Life, Verizon and Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser; Timex has naming rights for the nearby training and practice facility. German-based insurance firm Allianz was apparently close to a naming rights deal in 2008 but that fell apart when news reports of the company's ties to the Nazis during World War II caused a public backlash. Other factors, topped by the challenges of the current economy, have kept any naming rights deals from becoming reality.
Cowboys Stadium outside of Dallas also was a victim of the economy, having opened last year without a naming rights deal that analysts said could garner as much as $1 billion.
"It was down to two teams and two cities — two great American cities," Jonathan Tisch, Giants treasurer and co-chairman of the New York-New Jersey bid committee, said after the decision. "The Jets and the Giants put together a proposal that we are very proud of. I just believe the owners have the faith in us the three and a half years from now we are going to put on a remarkable event. . . . There is a lot of work ahead of us. But to think about the possibilities gives us all the vision for the next three and a half years until February 2014 when the greatest game in the world will be played on the greatest stage in the world."
"Check the antifreeze, grab the mittens, make sure the airport's not buried in snow. New York-New Jersey get Super Bowl XLVIII."
Although owners of other teams playing in cold weather, open-air stadiums indicated they might consider bidding on future Super Bowls, there was no clear feeling as to whether the NFL decision to play in the New York metropolitan area would be the first of many or a one-time event. Other cold weather Super Bowls played in domed stadiums were Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit, Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and Super Bowl XVI at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.
However, the league prefers warmer weather climates. South Florida has hosted the event a record ten times and Tampa has hosted it four times. Upcoming games include Super Bowl XLV at first-time host Cowboys Stadium, Super Bowl XLVI for the first time in the domed Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis and Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, which already has hosted nine games.
Tampa Bay is an early favorite for Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. Several sites are gearing up for the historic Super Bowl L in 2016.