NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday morning that Las Vegas has everything a city needs to host a Super Bowl.
“This area, this region, this city, Las Vegas has really done an incredible job growing, diversifying and becoming a world class city,” Goodell said. “It’s really a city that’s on the rise. … And we want to be a part of it. We want to contribute to that.”
Goodell spoke inside the Wynn’s LaTour Ballroom on Friday morning at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s largest annual networking event — Preview Las Vegas — and covered several topics in a wide ranging interview with Review-Journal Sports Editor Bill Bradley.
The commissioner spoke glowingly about Las Vegas, noting it has makings of a potential Super Bowl — and Pro Bowl — city, and said the league plans on incorporating all of the city’s iconic features in its presentation of the NFL Draft on April. He also touched on other pertinent issues like player safety, the legalization of sports betting and potential schedule changes in the near future.
But make no mistake, Las Vegas was at the forefront of the discussion because the Raiders are coming.
Matter of fact, they’re already here.
“There’s something really special about sports franchises. … There’s nothing that binds a franchise like a sports franchise,” Goodell said. “NFL and its franchises are part of the community. The communities were in, we’re actively engaged. … You’re already seeing that with the Raiders. They’re here.”
The Super Bowl won’t be here, though, until 2025 at the earliest. Miami is hosting the game this year, Tampa, Florida, next year, Los Angeles in 2022, Phoenix in 2023 and New Orleans in 2024. But Allegiant Stadium is in place, along with the requisite hotel space and entertainment amenities.
And Goodell said he can foresee a Super Bowl in Las Vegas’ future as the league selects cities rather than soliciting bids for the game.
“We try to pick cities that understand that impact (the Super Bowl) has on the city,” Goodell said, explaining that the economic impact on a city hosting the game often exceeds $500 million. “This city here knows how to put on big events. There’s no question about that. It has the infrastructure. … You do have everything here.”
First things first, though.
The NFL will congregate in Las Vegas on April 23-25 for the NFL Draft, and Goodell noted that the event “gets bigger and bigger” every year. More than 600,000 people attended the event last year in Nashville Tennessee, generating more than $80 million. Goodell said he believes Las Vegas can “blow away” that figure this year.
“(The draft this year) should be about Vegas. This should be about showing off the city,” Goodell said. “That’s what’s going to make it truly fantastic.”
Goodell did not reveal the exact location of the draft, but said NFL officials are going to meet Tuesday with Clark County Commission about finalizing the location.
“We are going to do what we can to show the tremendous entertainment and hospitality that’s around the city, “Goodell said. “I think what will come out of that is you all will (leave) that event saying ‘Wow, that was special.’”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also said:
— The league is considering reducing the number of preseason games and incorporating another regular season game. He also said the league is considering expanding the playoff field.
— He’s pleased with the improvements in player safety, and reaffirmed the league’s commitment to making the sport safer.
— The league needs to do a better job of providing head coaching opportunities for minority candidates. The Rooney Rule requires teams with coaching vacancies to interview at least one minority, but there are only four minority head coaches.
— He will be in Kansas City this weekend for the AFC championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans.
— Sam Gordon, Las Vegas Review-Journal.