The vast wasteland for the NFL that has been Southern California for the past 22 years is rapidly turning into a thriving oasis. It began in January with approval by the NFL for the return of the Los Angeles Rams to their home turf in a state-of-the-art stadium. The NFL announced this week three future Super Bowl sites: Atlanta in 2019, Miami in 2020 and Los Angeles in 2021. The NFL is incentivizing the construction of new and improved stadia by linking the construction to the awarding of a Super Bowl.
This will be the first Super Bowl played in Los Angeles since the Rose Bowl was the site of the 1993 shellacking the Dallas Cowboys delivered to the Buffalo Bills. I attended that game and watched the transformation of Troy Aikman from an excellent quarterback to Troy Aikman Superstar. That was the seventh time Los Angeles hosted the game, commencing with the first ever Super Bowl in 1967. Los Angeles has ample hotels, restaurants, party venues and the participation of the entertainment industry, along with reliably warm weather, which makes it an ideal site.
The construction of the Cardinals' new stadium in 2006 led to Phoenix hosting the 2008 Super Bowl. In 2009, the Cowboys built a new stadium and were awarded the 2011 Super Bowl. Indianapolis constructed Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008 and hosted the 2012 game. New Orleans completed a huge renovation projects in the Hurricane damaged Superdome and held the 2013 event. The Giants and Jets constructed MetLife Stadium in 2010 and New York was the host for 2014. The 49ers built Levi Stadium in 2014 and San Francisco was awarded the 2016 game.
The rotation includes teams without new stadiums, Houston is the site for the 2017 game. However the fact that Minnesota is opening a new stadium this fall was critical in the 2018 award. Atlanta has a new stadium which will be ready for 2017 and today was picked to host 2019. Miami is engaged in a huge renovation project which will open in time for them to host 2020. The Inglewood project for the Rams is costing an estimated $2.6 billion and led to the awarding of the 2021 game.
Why is the league so intent on rewarding new stadia construction with the vaunted prize of hosting a Super Bowl? New stadia have multiple revenue streams that enhance team economics and lead to higher valuation. This is in the interest of every NFL owner. These stadia have massive amounts of high-priced luxury boxes for lease. They have large premium seating sections with special amenities in exchange for much higher ticket prices. They can make naming rights deals for continual revenue. They have jumbo scoreboards and more room for signage and sponsorship. They can be outfitted with Wi-Fi for new apps and revenue opportunities. They are often designed with adjacent fan experience facilities which are monetized. Every new stadium improves on the last and can create an economic bonanza.
Hosting a game brings massive visitors and revenue to an area. It is the height of prestige and branding. The NFL will continue using the awarding of Super Bowls to stimulate new stadium projects.
-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @leighsteinberg.