Minnesota was selected by the NFL owners to host Super Bowl LII in 2018. The decision was made on Tuesday, May 20 and marks the return of football’s biggest game to Minnesota after 26 years. The new Vikings Stadium, which is currently under construction, will be the stage of the big event.
Minnesota was chosen over New Orleans and Indianapolis, two cities that hosted the Super Bowl in 2012 and 2011 respectively. It is the first time New Orleans loses a bid to host the Super Bowl. The perennial favorite, as Chris Burke labels New Orleans when it comes to Super Bowl bidding, has hosted the big game 10 times in the past.
The decision was met with mixed feeling and reactions. Why the NFL didn’t go with the safe option that New Orleans provided? Every Super Bowl down there has been a success, the weather is much better than in Minnesota and the people love partying and wandering the Bourbon Street area.
Unfortunately for the supporters of this bid, these were the only arguments they had and in my opinion, they are not very good ones.
New Orleans has been succesful in hosting the Super Bowl, but there is nothing that hints Minnesota won’t be succesful too. The Vikings Stadium will be a brand new, state-of-the-art sports dome. It is scheduled to open in 2016, so the organizers of Super Bowl LII will have 18 months to work in the venue, make their strategic plan and review it multiple times.
Undoubtedly, the weather in the Upper Midwest in February is not very pleasant. The temperature is usually lower than 20 Fahrenheit and there is lots of snow everywhere. This makes moving around in the city harder, but it will be a small factor in the Super Bowl’s success. The game will not be affected by the elements and neither will be fans and media attending the game.
It affects, however, the “extra curricular” activities. People won’t be able to party on the streets. Outdoor events and activities will be limited if at all included in the program. We have to ask ourselves: are these so important to deem Minnesota unsuitable or the wrong choice?
I think they are not. The Super Bowl might be a glamorous event, but most forget that first and foremost it is the championship game of the NFL. Partying is nice, but it is not the essence.
Furthermore, the NFL owners realised that there are 32 franchises in this league, but only half of them get to see the Super Bowl hosted in their cities/markets. By selecting Minnesota, they decided to turn the page and expand the Super Bowl market. Minnesota is just the first step. Seattle, Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore could follow.
This is the NFL’s big bet. Minnesota will set the standard for the expansion of the Super Bowl market. The success of Super Bowl LII will be a factor for any city that was never in consideration and wants to bid. If it goes as planned, then more fans will get the chance to see the Super Bowl staged close to their homes. What’s not to like?