The Seattle Seahawks confirmed an earlier report by Q13 Fox News that the team has filled out preliminary paperwork in response to an inquiry by the league sent out to northern cities about the possibility of hosting a Super Bowl in the future.
However, I want to caution that this is a preliminary step, and the team has many hoops to jump through before being asked to submit a formal proposal to the Super Bowl Advisory Committee to host a Super Bowl.
And the Seahawks aren’t the only northern city to show interest, as Washington, Denver, New England, Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit are other northern markets that would likely want to be in the conversation for hosting a Super Bowl.
Add to that group the fact San Francisco, San Diego and Minnesota are working on securing funding to build new or remodeled stadiums – along with the NFL’s recent tradition of offering Super Bowls to cities that build new stadiums – and Seattle likely has an uphill climb of hosting a Super Bowl in the foreseeable future.
Currently, the next three Super Bowl sites are spoken for, with New Orleans hosting in 2013, the Meadowlands in New Jersey in 2014, and Glendale, Arizona in 2015.
Folks interested in bringing a Super Bowl in Seattle will be closely monitoring how the Super Bowl works out in the New York/New Jersey region in 2014 because it’s an open air stadium in a traditionally cold area of the country, although the region has much more hotel room space and other amenities available that go along with being the No. 1 TV market in the United States.
League commissioner Roger Goodell commented on the possibility of cold-weather cities hosting the Super Bowl last week, stating the Super Bowl in northern New Jersey in 2014 will be a good barometer for those cities.
“The biggest challenge we have putting on an event like this is it takes 25,000 hotel rooms,” Goodell told Bob Costas of NBC. “And that’s a heavy lift for many communities to be able to do. But this community (Indianapolis) has really put out the hospitality for us. They know how to do great events. And they’re proving it to the world.”
Goodell’s comments can be heard at the end of the video below
The success of northern cities like Indianapolis and Detroit hosting the Super Bowl in the past 10 years gives Seattle hope, but both of those places have indoor stadiums and can control the environment of the game (Did you see how 53-year-old Madonna struggled to stay upright in those high-heeled boots in Indianapolis during the halftime show? Think how that would have gone over in the rain in Seattle) something Seattle doesn’t have because the team chose to build an open-air stadium.
That said, some major thresholds remain that the Seattle-area will have to meet in taking the next step and be invited to formally submit a proposal to host the big game by the Super Bowl Advisory Committee.
* Stadium seating capacity: 70,000 seats. CenturyLink Field can expand to 72,000.
* Hotel rooms: 25,000 within an hour’s drive.
* Weather: Average high temperature in early February must be at least 50 degrees or the stadium must have a dome.
* Space: Enough to hold a media center and the NFL Experience theme park.
* Staffing: Three times above the level for a normal sellout crowd.
* Power: Provide power at no cost to the NFL, television networks and other media.
* Advertising: Give the NFL the ability to cover existing stadium advertising during the game and replace it with its own advertising.
Besides not having a roof on the stadium, the sticking points for Seattle likely will be weather, transportation and hotel space. The average temperature in early February in the Seattle area is about 44 degrees, although it’s been unseasonably warm the past week, reaching 60 degrees in some areas of the Puget Sound region.
The average temperature in the New York region in February is 42 degrees. Traffic also will be a major issue, particularly if the scheduled completion of projects like the light rail are delayed further, along with replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.
And don’t even mention the word snow, which isn’t uncommon in the Seattle-area in February. Seattle isn’t exactly the easiest place to get around when the white stuff is on the ground because of the hilly terrain. And like Dallas two years ago, the city isn’t as prepared as it should be to handle inclement weather.
Yes, it snows in Indianapolis. But having been there over a half dozen times for events like the NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis colts and Indiana Pacers games, everything there is centrally located and easy to get to. Further, Indianapolis regularly hosts major events like the Indianapolis 500 and Final Fours, so they know how to handle the elements and have tons of hotel space with protective, indoor walking areas close to the Lucas Oil Stadium.
The last major event Seattle hosted was the Major League Baseball All-Star game in 2001. Seattle also hosted the Final Four in 1995 and the NBA All-Star game in 1987, both held in the Kingdome.
The bottom line is the Seahawks are at the beginning of what will be a very long and competitive process to land a Super Bowl in the future. And they will likely need owner Paul Allen to throw his weight around should the team receive the go ahead to formally apply to host a Super Bowl.