Super Bowl Bid Document Shows How Much Houston Had to Promise to Get Super Bowl LI
"The Super Bowl is the NFL's championship game and our most important opportunity to celebrate with our teams, fans, and business partners. For the host region, it is also an economic engine that can accelerate the development of local infrastructure improvements, enhance community pride, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact."
Photo by Craig Hlavaty This is what a Super Bowl looks like when the game is over.
That paragraph is the crux of the NFL's sales pitch to cities who think, "Hey, hosting the Super Bowl sounds like fun!"
Hosting the city is essentially one massive billion dollar salve on all of your city's urban blight, and a ticket to infrastructure plastic surgery that will have your metropolitan area functioning in a space age warp that makes the sci-fi city the Jetsons live in look downright antebellum. A real life Coruscant!
Since multiple cities have successfully bid on the Super Bowl multiple times (including Houston!), I am going to assume that the NFL's pitch is baked in truth, which makes this article in Minnesota's Star Tribune all the more interesting.
In case you missed it over the last couple weeks, Minnesota won the right to host Super Bowl LII (that's 52, to you non-Romans), much to the chagrin of radio hosts and media types who enjoy warm weather, outdoor drinking, and locale specific cuisine (shout out to Mother's near the French Quarter, where I ate once a day back in January 2013).
If you didn't know this, your reaction was probably similar to everyone else's -- MINNESOTA?!? WTF?!? (Mine had more outright curse words.)
Yes, Minnesota. How did this happen? (Read that question in a "harried, bitter" tone for media members. Everyone else, read it in a "just curious" tone.)
Well, like a handful of other cities, Minneapolis (and the Vikings) responded to this Request For Proposal, and were ever mindful of the following clause: "Meeting the minimum Bid specifications outlined in the following subsections are essential to a successful Bid."
If you have about two hours of free time and fetish for extreme boredom, you can read all 153 pages of the RFP. For our purposes here, I just wanted to pick out a few of the highlights with an eye on Super Bowl foibles past and the other eye on Houston's successful bid for the Super Bowl in 2017.
First, let's preface all of this with this little factoid -- the words "at no cost to the NFL" are found in this document 161 times. And that's with an easy "find/search" of those exact words. That doesn't include phrases like "rent free" and "complimentary" that basically mean the same thing.
The moral of the story -- be ready to pony up a LOT of free shit if you want your city to get the Super Bowl.