How do they select the SuperBowl city?

Okay, this much I know–the weather in January being pretty damned cold and all, they always pick either stadiums in warm places or domes that can be heated.

Beyond that, what are the selection criteria? I imagine it’s got to be a big stadium with lots of parking, but aside from that? Does the NFL gravitate towards cities that are good tourist destinations like New Orleans? Does the desire to not give a team home field advantage have something to do with it? Obviously no one knows a year in advance who’s gonna win the AFC or NFC, but if history is any guide it’s not going to be the Saints. So if, say the Dallas Cowboys win the SB one year and look strong for the next year, does that lower the chances of Dallas hosting the game? Is the Superbowl indirectly used as a “compensation” for cities that are suffering from crappy teams?

Is there a scientific process to it, or just a commitee in a smoke-filled room, which would bring up the issue of corruption? I mean a Superbowl is big money, and any city tourism board would do just about anything to get one. Do the networks play a part? Who’s in charge here, and is it a transparent process or not?

Thanks for any help.

I’ve read in newspaper articles over the years that there are a number of factors that lead to which cities host Super Bowls.

  1. Stadium capacity. Obviously, the more seats there are in the house, the more money you make from ticket sales. And we all know how cheap Super Bowl tickets can be.

  2. Weather. Super Bowls tend to get played in cities known for having reasonable weather in January. This means that great football towns like Chicago are screwed. Minneapolis hosted a Super Bowl, but that was in a domed stadium.

  3. Hotel capacity. Gotta have room for not just the out-of-town folks coming to see the game, but also the media. This may explain why Seattle never hosted a Super Bowl, even though they had the Kingdome for years. I suspect that it might have been relatively inadequate hotel capacity that prevented them from obtaining a Super Bowl bid.

  4. Amenities. Seriously, do you think you would have more fun chilling out in a place for several days like New Orleans or Miami, as compared to, say, Green Bay?

Considering that the Super Bowl host city is picked well in advance of the NFL season, I doubt that the consideration of whether or not the home team might actually play in the Super Bowl is a factor. After all, there was talk that the Buccaneers looked to be the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl last year in Tampa Bay, and no mention was made anywhere that the host city should be changed if that were to occur.

Because of the interruption in the NFL schedule this year due to the September 11 atrocities, the playoff schedule got complicated. If the Super Bowl was delayed, it would have interfered with a car salesman convention scheduled to occur in New Orleans (now there’s a fun concept…several days trapped in a room with hundreds of car salesmen). A fair amount of negotiation took place to get the schedules ironed out; it underlined the difficulty of rescheduling the event despite months of advance time. Therefore, if the home team of a Super Bowl host city were to win the conference championship, I seriously doubt they would move the Super Bowl on such short notice.

I see. So various cities bid, sort of the way countries bid for Olympics and World Cups, and the NFL Powers That Be check over the bids annually, run their fingers nimbly over their pearl abacuses, and make an announcement during the off-season?

Makes sense I guess.

Personally I think they should have the Superbowl in Chicago, Green Bay, Minneapolis, Denver, and other such inhospitable places just to weed out the corporate yuppies and keep the stands full of true die-hards. But since that would equal lower ticket prices and therefore less money, I guess it’ll never happen.

Then again, in 20 years every stadium will probably have a roof anyway, and be named after a corporation…

Thanks for the info.

One last question: So season ticket holders for the two contending teams are screwed, and the season ticket holders for the stadium’s team, despite the actual team not being there, get to go? That’s weird. Or do season tickets not apply to the SuperBowl at all?

I always thought that a Super Bowl in Buffalo would be a great idea. Weather, schmeather – it’s the Super Bowl, and people would still pack the game.

Then again – Buffalo doesn’t have many hotel rooms, and most of them are far from Ralph Wilson Stadium – either downtown or in the northern suburb of Amherst.

I think it’s a terrible shame that the Super Bowl isn’t hosted by the team with the best record. If you go 15-1 you should get to host it. The fans deserve a shot at that, don’t you think?