Niners new stadium to host Super Bowl 50
AP Pro Football Writer
BOSTON — The NFL will celebrate its 50th Super Bowl in northern California, where its newest, most high-tech venue is being built.
That makes South Florida, in the midst of a spat over expensive stadium renovations, a loser for the 2016 game.
And Miami took a double defeat when Houston was awarded the 2017 championship game.
In two separate votes, NFL owners Tuesday went with the both San Francisco Bay Area and Houston on the first ballot at their spring meetings. The 49ers’ new home is set to open next year in Santa Clara, and will host the first Super Bowl in the area since 1985.
Houston staged the 2004 Super Bowl. Miami has hosted 10 of them — including the Jets upset of the Colts in 1969 — and is tied with New Orleans for the most. But South Florida got rejected twice after the Florida Legislature did not support financing to renovate Sun Life Stadium.
“We are so excited to be able to be able to put on the ‘Golden Super Bowl’ in the Golden State,” 49ers CEO Jed York said.
They will stage it in what is being promoted as the most technologically advanced stadium in the world, and earned that right on a day when the NFL made a $400 million deal with Microsoft to upgrade the fan viewing experience. Levi’s Stadium figures to be the first cashless, ticketless venue in NFL championship history, with WiFi capability for 75,000 people.
“After losing a Super Bowl (to Baltimore last February), it feels really good to win a Super Bowl,” York cracked.
Houston hosted once before, in 2004, and is calling the 51st Super Bowl an international experience that will include fans from Mexico.
“I think a lot of them just felt like, hey, it’s Houston’s time,” Texans owner Robert McNair said of his colleagues. “They knew we could do a good job. From 2004 to ‘17, that’s 13 years. So I agree, I think it’s Houston’s time.”
Speaking with reporters after the votes, Goodell also said:
• The draft will be held between May 8 and May 17 next year because the venue, Radio City Music Hall, is hosting an Easter show in April. He expects the draft will remain in May, with other adjustments to the NFL’s calendar, including the dates for the combine and the opening of free agency, to be discussed with the players’ union.
• A third international game in upcoming seasons could be added now that both games for 2013 in London have sold out.
• The Pro Bowl could be moved from Hawaii back to mainland cities after the 2014 game, but will remain on the Sunday one week before the Super Bowl.
• Expanding the playoffs, and cutting two games off the preseason, still are being discussed. A reduced preseason could happen with either the current 16-game regular season or with an 18-game schedule.