By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor
May 31, 2011: Even though the NFL is currently in a lockout situation with the decertified NFL Players Assn., finances dictate that the $10 billion pro football empire will have a 2011 season, followed by Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012 in Indianapolis.
The NFL is such a voracious machine that people within the league, marketing and media partners and a plethora of fans, consumers and venues nationwide already are thinking about a game not scheduled to be played until February 2016: Super Bowl L.
The 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl — which actually did not get Roman numerals until Super Bowl III — will have historic significance and equally significant marketing. And, not to be overlooked, the city selected to host the game and related parties will reap the benefits of national attention from the moment the NFL names the host city during an owners meeting in May 2013.
Although the site for Super Bowl XLIX is not scheduled to be named until May 2012, several groups have already mobilized to garner attention from the NFL for the 2013 Super Bowl.
Among them: Miami, Dallas, Green Bay, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C. and two cities that currently do not have an NFL franchise: Los Angeles and London.
One driving factor is that marketing activation for Super Bowl L certainly will top that of Super Bowl XL, which was played in Detroit in 2006. A nearly 15-month activation that led to that game, longer by about half a year than traditional pre-Super Bowl build-ups.
Given its significance, NFL marketing partners could easily duplicate that activation time for Super Bowl L.
A study commissioned by the South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee in 2007 reported that the game and surrounding events generated more than $460 million in "economic activity."
A pre-game study commissioned by the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee held this past February anticipated an impact in excess of $600 million. Bad weather, logistical challenges and other factors ate into that figure, according to analysts, and a final figure has not been released.
Other studies regarding the Super Bowl's impact on its host city to average closer to $150 million.
Given the historic value of Super Bowl L, the figure could be eventually gush out at the higher end, especially if the venue provided the proper economic stimulus for NFL marketing partners and visiting and local consumers.
The NFL has followed a strategy of not awarding a Super Bowl to cities that have hosted the game within the previous five years. Although that plan is not necessarily etched in stone, it would currently eliminate from contention Indianapolis, New Orleans and New York/New Jersey.
Super Bowl XLVI will be in Indianapolis in February 2012, Super Bowl XLVII will be played in New Orleans in February 2013 and Super Bowl XLVIII will be outdoors at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey in February 2014, where the league made an exemption to its rule that the average temperature for a Super Bowl in an opened stadium must be 50 degrees or higher.
It would certainly remove from contention the site of Super Bowl XLIX. Among the cities bidding on Super Bowl XLIX are Tampa and Glendale, AZ., site of the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Even without a new stadium or even an NFL team, there is significant support locally and elsewhere to have Super Bowl L played in the Los Angeles area. The strategy is that Super Bowl L would be a direct link to Super Bowl I (then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game), which was played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Jan. 15, 1967.
Headed up by global sports and entertainment conglomerate AEG, the move to have Super Bowl L played in Los Angeles would first have to see an established NFL team relocated to the city, where it would play in the as-yet unbuilt Farmers Field stadium.
The proposal would put what could be the most significant game in NFL history smack in the middle of a worldwide focus on the merger of sports and entertainment.
But even with a team, a stadium and history on its side, Los Angeles would not be set in stone to get Super Bowl L. In Dallas, which hosted Super Bowl XL, Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones supports the effort, as do local politicians, financiers and sports and entertainment powers.
"What better way to celebrate the 50th Super Bowl and all its rich history than to have it at the NFL's oldest and most storied Football Stadium, Lambeau Field!"
Although the logistics to support Super Bowl XLV came up short in the eyes of many critics, efforts to garner Super Bowl L already are in motion.
"We're for sure going after [Super Bowl L]," Roger Staubach, chairman of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee and a Hall of Fame quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys, told the press during Super Bowl XLV. "We want to get it back again [to Cowboys Stadium], so we want to do it right," Staubach said. "We've raised our funds. We've done a pretty good job. People have been generous . . . so we're going to be able to put on a really great Super Bowl for the NFL."
Those efforts will now be led by Troy Aikman, another Hall of Fame quarterback who played for the Cowboys, who succeeded Staubach as chairman of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee.
Of course, it's not all good. Officials in Arlington, Texas, home of Cowboys Stadium, are seeking nearly $3 million from a special state fund to cover spending related to "public safety, ice and snow removal and other costs" regarding the staging of Super Bowl XLV, according to public douments. And nearby Fort Worth is seeking about $2.3 million from the fund, mostly to cover costs of policemen, firemen and other safety related situations.
None the less, in Seattle, a group of football fans is gathering names in order to petition to the NFL to host Super Bowl L . "Why not?" asks the organization, "Seattle for Super Bowl L," on its Facebook page. "Seattle is the 13th biggest media market in the U.S. and we've got the most beautiful and loudest stadium in the National Football League. Let's get our voice heard to the NFL to have the great city of Seattle host Super Bowl L!!"
A similar movement has taken root in Green Bay, with two groups each with their own Facebook page.
"What better way to celebrate the 50th Super Bowl and all its rich history than to have it at the NFL's oldest and most storied Football Stadium, Lambeau Field, home to the winner of the first two Super Bowls!" exclaims "Green Bay For Super Bowl 50 (L)" on Facebook.
Echoes the group, "Super Bowl 50 at Lambeau Field," on its Facebook site, "If you love football and truly believe in the game, let's face it: Super Bowl 'L' should be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin!"
As to the objection of playing the game in an open stadium in a cold weather climate, both groups offer a similar opinion: "If New York can get it, so can we!"
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said he would want to host Super Bowl L at the 90,000-seat FedEx Stadium. "I think Washington should get one," he has said in public statements regarding hosting the Super Bowl. "It is the nation's capital."
Also pushing for Super Bowl L is a group in Southern California hoping to unite the historic game with an already existing historic venue. In fact, the "Super Bowl 50: The Push for Pasadena" on Facebook even has a faux poster up and ready to go to have the game played in the Rose Bowl.
"This is the OFFICIAL PAGE of "The Push for Pasadena," offers the group on its Facebook destination. "The simple goal of this group is to get Roger Goodell to consider the Rose Bowl as the host of the 50th annual Super Bowl. Why? For the simple nostalgia of the event. To recognize the history of this legendary event and the heroes that made it that way."
Which city should host historic Super Bowl L, to be played February 2016?
According to the readers of NYSportsJournalism:
New Orleans: Louisiana Superdome 15.61%
Miami: Sun Life Stadium 15.61%
Los Angeles: site TBD 15.12%
Dallas: Cowboys Stadium 12.2%
London: Wembley Stadium 12.2%
Tampa Bay: Raymond James Stadium 4.88%
Phoenix: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale 2.44%
Others: 21.95% Sites mentioned include: Pittsburgh, San Diego, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston (Foxboro Stadium), Denver, Houston, Chicago, Cincinnati, St,. Louis, Minnesota, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Baltimore, Cleveland and . . . China!