Miami Loses Out to San Francisco and Houston to Host Super Bowls L and LI

Team owners voted Tuesday for the 49ers' new stadium as host of the 2016 game.

Miami lost out on hosting both the 50th and 51st Super Bowls, which were awarded to San Francisco Bay Area and Houston on Tuesday. The Miami Dolphins' failed attempt to secure public financing for a $350 million renovation of Sun Life Stadium likely played a major role in keeping the Super Bowl outside of South Florida in 2016 and 2017.

Team owners voted for the 49ers' new stadium as host of the 2016 game. That facility in Santa Clara, Calif., is due to open for the 2014 season.

"I can't do it alone," Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told the NFL Network. "I think I went out further than any owner has ever gone out in offering to a city to put up money and deliver on a new modernized stadium. I think I'm going to have to do it with local people.

"I think they'll realize that Miami, the weather alone won't bring Super Bowls and other marquee events. And I'd like to see marquee events in Miami because we deserve to because it's the greatest city in the country."

Houston, which also beat out Miami, was awarded the 2017 title game. It has hosted once before, in 2004.

"We are certainly disappointed that our community was not chosen to host Super Bowl L or LI. That said, I’m grateful to the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee for their considerable efforts to land the big game. Their bid was a true collaborative effort and it showed in its creativity and excellent presentation," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez in an email statement. "Miami is a hot global destination and I’m confident the Super Bowl will soon return to our hometown."

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the 2016 decision, members of the San Francisco bid committee let out a roar of approval, then toasted each other with champagne.

"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.

Asked what he believed swayed the owners to vote for San Francisco, York added: "It's the will power of an entire area that gave an overwhelming push for us."

It was the first time in a decade that a Super Bowl was awarded on the first ballot.

"The Bay Area has been waiting for a (title) game since 1985. We have a stadium now ... we are just thrilled and couldn't be happier about this," said Daniel Lurie, a leader of the San Francisco bid.

"We are going to get to highlight the best the Bay Area has to offer."

The Dolphins were denied public money for a stadium upgrade in South Florida following widespread complaints about the public investment sunk into the Marlins' new baseball home.

Multibillionaire Dolphins owner Stephen Ross contends $350 million in stadium improvements are badly needed, but he doesn't want to pay for them by himself. Nor does he want a scaled-down renovation of the 26-year-old facility.

Miami has hosted 10 Super Bowls, tied with New Orleans for the most. But neither will get the 50th.

York suggested that San Francisco's winning bid offered a lesson in politics.

"If this Super Bowl can show the state of California and other communities the opportunity with a new stadium to bring in fresh business, it could be a catalyst that stadiums can be built for Oakland and San Diego, which are in need of new ones," he said. "This may be the impetus to get one of those done."

For years, it was thought the NFL would seek to stage the 50th Super Bowl in Los Angeles, where the first one was played (but did not sell out) on Jan. 15, 1967. But with no franchise in LA and no suitable stadium projects approved, that hope disappeared.

Next Feb. 2, the game goes outdoors in a cold-weather site for the first time, at MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands. If that gamble pays off for the NFL, look for other cities in similar climates — Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver — to bid for future Super Bowls.

The 2015 game will be played in the Phoenix area.

Earlier Tuesday, owners approved a $200 million loan for stadium construction in Atlanta. The multipurpose stadium could cost as much as $1 billion, with team owner Arthur Blank committed to funding most of it. Blank, speaking at the NFL's spring meetings, called the decision by the team owners an "important milestone" in moving the project forward.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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