What demands are placed on Super Bowl hosts?

Houston and NRG Stadium will hold the event on Sunday

BY Daniel Kelly 13:30 Wednesday 1 February 2017, 13:30 1 Feb 2017

Picture by David J. Phillip AP/Press Association Images

New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons meet on Sunday night in NRG Stadium at Super Bowl LI.

The home of the Houston Texans was opened in 2002, and Sunday's game will be the second Super Bowl held in the stadium. In 2004, the Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers at Super Bowl XXXVIII in the same venue.  Last year it even hosted matches at the Copa America Centenario and has also been the venue for WrestleMania XXV in 2009. Houston won the right to host Sunday's event in 2013. 

For the NFL, the Super Bowl is more than just 60 minutes of football. From the Monday of Super Bowl week, the focus of the American sporting public is based exclusively on one area of the country. This year, the who's who of American life will descend on the Texan city to be seen.

Millions of dollars are pumped into the extravaganza, from sponsors' events in the build-up to the famous half-time ads. The Super Bowl is big business for the NFL, and the game on the Sunday is just the cherry on a big cake.

The stadium is home to the Houston Texans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Despite the focus being set on Houston and its surrounds this weekend, organising committees from Minneapolis, Atlanta and Miami will be keeping an eye on what happens at NRG Stadium. Those cities are to host the next three Super Bowls.

In a similar situation to what happened with last year's hosts in San Francisco, Minneapolis' US Bank Stadium and Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium were named as host stadia before they were fully built. The Falcons, could move into their new stadium next season as Super Bowl champions.

When Minneapolis and the Vikings won the bid to host Super Bowl LII in 2014, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune gained possession of a document from the NFL titled "Super Bowl LII Host City Bid Specifications and Requirements". The document shows a long and unusual list of demands that the NFL makes if you want to secure the biggest show on turf in your city.

The stadium in Minneapolis only opened at the start of the season. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

The NFL pride themselves with what they do off the field as much as what they do on it. Here are some of the demands made in the document that was seen by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

  • Sixteen months before the game, the NFL will send 180 people to the host city to inspect the region. The host city must cover all the expenses.

  • Exclusive, cost-free use of 35,000 parking spaces for game day parking.

  • The NFL has the "option to install ATMs that accept NFL preferred credit/debit cards in exchange for cash" and to cover up other ATMs.

  • Team hotels must agree to televise the NFL Network for one year leading up to the Super Bowl.

  • If mobile service is too weak at the team hotels (based on the "sole discretion of the NFL"), the Host Committee must install boosters and/or antennas.

  • Full tax exemption from city, state and local taxes for tickets sold to the Super Bowl.

  • The host city must give the NFL the use of at least 20 billboards at no charge.

Away from football-related activities, the NFL also demands the use of other sporting facilities:

  • The NFL requires exclusive access to three area golf courses (for free) so it can host a tournament on Super Bowl weekend.

  • The NFL also requests the use of two “top quality” bowling alleys (also for free) for a bowling tournament the Wednesday before the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl may be the biggest game of the year, but the demands made on the host city are even bigger.

You can see the full document here


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