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Las Vegas, Raiders aim to host Super Bowl as early as 2023

Updated February 4, 2018 - 3:52 pm

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Las Vegas and its $1.9 billion stadium project won’t be forgotten when nine NFL owners and team presidents, together wielding influence over an adjusted Super Bowl bid-selection process, meet in the coming months.

One of the nine can assure it.

Raiders owner Mark Davis serves on the Super Bowl and Major Events Advisory Committee, positioning him to have an active role in where Super Bowl LVII will be located on Feb. 5, 2023. There is no guarantee the game is coming to Las Vegas then. A combination of recent history and comments from an NFL executive, however, indicate the opportunity should arrive in the next eight years.

Peter O’Reilly, the league’s senior vice president of events, identified a four-year window, beginning with the 2022 season, in which it is “realistic” for the championship game to visit the multiuse Las Vegas stadium. The site is scheduled to open as the Raiders’ home in 2020.

Las Vegas, upon hosting the game, would be the latest NFL city to which league owners have awarded a Super Bowl following a stadium construction. U.S. Bank Stadium opened in 2016 in downtown Minneapolis. The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will play there Sunday.

“When you think Las Vegas, clearly a great entertainment capital, the Raiders stadium,” O’Reilly said. “That said, there are a number of other cities who have been traditional hosts who haven’t hosted for a while. So, where Las Vegas sits in that next cycle of (Super Bowls) 57 to 60 is still to be determined. … Assuming everything moves forward on course, that’s a window that is realistic. … From a hotel and entertainment standpoint and what will be a tremendous venue when it’s built, (Las Vegas) is a viable Super Bowl host for sure.”

Bids to the next four Super Bowls all are finalized: Atlanta on Feb. 3, 2019; Miami on Feb. 2, 2020; Tampa on Feb. 7, 2021; and, Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2022. Those all were announced in May 2016 at the league’s owners meetings. Three of those four host stadiums were undergoing construction (Atlanta, Los Angeles) or renovation (Miami).

Las Vegas enters the mix with traditional host cities such as New Orleans. The latter has not hosted the game since Feb. 3, 2013. The Dallas Cowboys’ home venue, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has hosted one Super Bowl since its opening on Feb. 6, 2011. Perhaps it, too, is due.

New bid path to Super Bowl

The process to receive a bid has been revised.

In the past, cities prepared and presented a bid for the league’s consideration. This is changing, O’Reilly said, in an effort to sequence Super Bowls optimally and in respect to the resources that cities devote to such presentations. The Super Bowl and Major Events Advisory Committee now will identify which city is an ideal candidate for a given year. A location selection must be approved, too, in a vote between all 32 clubs. The process then advances to the bid submission stage from the chosen region.

The NFL will hold its annual league owner meeting March 25-28 in Orlando, Florida. Spring meetings are scheduled for May 21-23.

Many cities report benefits from hosting a Super Bowl.

Members of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, for example, said that Sunday’s game and the days of festivities surrounding it represent a chance to showcase prideful aspects of their region to more than 5,000 media members and 1 million visitors. The underlying trend behind the messaging they chose is to highlight attributes of Minnesota that are unrelated to cold weather.

Game-time temperature Sunday is forecast for 6 degrees, coldest in Super Bowl history, according to the National Weather Service. Conditions are not expected to impact the game itself; U.S. Bank Stadium is indoors.

‘Make the game work for you’

“The NFL gives you a wonderful platform to talk about your city, or state in our case,” said Maureen Bausch, executive board member of the host committee. “We started very early. We talked to the business committee because we are a privately funded Super Bowl. We said, ‘What can we do with this platform that helps you achieve your goals?’ If I was Las Vegas, I would figure out what you want people to know about Las Vegas that they don’t already know, or amp up what they already know. And then put together a marketing strategy that utilizes the platform the NFL gives you.

“Make the game work for you because it does. It really does,” Bausch said.

Minnesota is advertising its 18 Fortune 500 company headquarters. The phrase “Bold North” is used to reference the region, a way of leaning into the cold temperatures with flair, Bausch said. The Bold North Zip Line ride traverses nearly 800 feet across the Mississippi River. Most media events have been held at the Mall of America. Both team hotels are adjacent to the 5.6 million gross-square-foot complex.

When preparing its bid, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee reached pacts with local business leaders to assure they’d financially support the game in some form. U.S. Bank Stadium was not built at the time of those talks.

“The NFL has a responsibility for the game itself,” said Richard Davis, co-chair of the host committee. “The host committee has the responsibility for the 10 days leading up to the game and to make a warming and inviting (setting) to really showcase what’s unique about your own town. So in Vegas, you guys would have some of the best vendors, some of the best products — and people don’t even know. They’d walk and go, ‘I had no idea Vegas had all this.’ It’s a matter of showing off in a nice, professional way.”

Minnesota’s host committee contracted with a third-party company, Rockport Analytics, to submit two economic impact reports for game week. One is a projection before the game. The other is a review afterward, calculating actual figures. Between $250 million and $400 million in new revenue is projected for the region.

In Las Vegas’ wheelhouse

Hosting a Super Bowl seems a rite of passage for new stadiums and new NFL cities, but Las Vegas is relatively unique to its peers in that regard. Super weekends are nothing new, and Las Vegas is no stranger to hosting.

Just ask Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

In a phone interview, the Las Vegas native rattled off figures: more than 42 million annual visitors, roughly 150,000 hotel rooms, and the approximately 180,000 tech industry professionals who attended the CES Convention just last month.

He also touted the entertainment quality and the more community-tied elements.

“It’s a tremendous place to live and raise a family,” Ralenkotter said.

And host a Super Bowl.

Soon enough, it will come. When it does, Ralenkotter hopes to shoulder a new role: Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee member.

“I’ll be the first one to sign up,” he said. “I’ll raise my hand. I’ll be in the front row, ready to go.”

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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