In this artist drawing provided by the San Francisco 49ers, the proposed 49ers stadium in Santa Clara is shown.
By Jimmy Golen
Build a new stadium, host the Super Bowl to show it off.
The NFL rewarded the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday with hosting rights for the 2016 championship game, slotting the 50th Super Bowl in the 49ers’ high-tech Santa Clara stadium scheduled to open next year.
The league also voted at its spring meetings to give the 2017 game to Houston, which last hosted the big game in 2004.
“After losing a Super Bowl, it feels really good to win a Super Bowl,” said 49ers CEO Jed York, whose team lost to Baltimore in the NFL title game in February. “We are so excited to be able to put on the ‘Golden Super Bowl’ in the Golden State.”
The back-to-back, first-ballot votes also sent a message to South Florida that it needs to settle its squabble over renovations at the Miami Dolphins’ stadium before it will get a chance to host its 11th Super Bowl.
“I can tell you that I think the stadium is a very import part of any of these proposals. The condition of the stadium is a factor,” commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I think it’s the stadium, at the end of the day. Their proposal was really quite exciting. I think owners would like to be in Miami. But it’s competitive right now.”
The 49ers are preparing to begin play in 2014 in what they are billing as the most technologically advanced stadium in the world — the first cashless, ticketless venue in NFL championship history, with WiFi capability for 75,000 people. The 2016 Super Bowl will be the first in northern California since the 1985 game at Stanford Stadium.
When Goodell announced the 2016 decision, members of the San Francisco bid committee let out a roar of approval, then toasted each other with champagne. Asked what he believed swayed the owners to vote for San Francisco, York added: “It’s the willpower 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. York said 25 percent of the proceeds from the game will be donated to fight poverty in the Bay Area.
“The Bay Area has been waiting for a (title) game since 1985. We have a stadium now,” said Daniel Lurie, a leader of the San Francisco bid. “We are just thrilled and couldn’t be happier about this.”