The new home of the New York Giants and Jets will host the 2014 Super Bowl, the first time the National Football League game will be held outdoors in a cold- weather city.
Owners of the league’s 32 teams voted to award the championship game of the most-watched U.S. television sport to the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
In choosing the new stadium over bids by Tampa and Miami for a game that organizers say may pump $550 million into the area’s economy, the owners heeded arguments led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that staging the contest in the nation’s financial and media capital outweighed the risk of snow and freezing temperatures.
“I’m absolutely thrilled; very, very happy for New York and New Jersey,” New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said in an interview. “It’s going to be a great Super Bowl, and it’s a massive boost for New York City.”
Today’s vote at an owners meeting in Irving, Texas, follows a pattern in which the NFL awarded recent Super Bowls to new stadiums in Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis and suburban Phoenix. Vote totals weren’t revealed by the league. The New York area bid needed four rounds of voting to beat Tampa. Miami was eliminated in the second round.
“With every round it got a little more dramatic, a little more exciting and there was a little more anxiety,” Tisch said. “And when the commissioner finally stood up and said, ‘I’m now going to announce where Super Bowl 48 is going to be played,’ I got adrenalized. It was very, very exciting.”
The New Meadowlands Stadium Co. said in December that the New York teams were “mounting a full-scale campaign to capture the hosting rights” to the game after receiving permission to bid from the league owners’ Super Bowl Advisory Committee, according to a company statement. The game is scheduled for February 2014, following the 2013 season. Three potential dates have been reserved for the game -- Feb. 2, 9 and 16.
Owners earlier waived the league’s traditional requirements that host sites have a minimum average temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) or a climate-controlled indoor stadium.
The average February temperature at Newark Airport, some 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the Meadowlands Sports Complex, is about 34 degrees, according to data from the New Jersey state climatologist.
The result doesn’t necessarily mean future Super Bowls will be awarded to outdoor stadiums in northern parts of the country, Goodell said in a news conference.
“Each game is going be decided on an individual basis,” Goodell said. “I do believe New York is a unique market and the membership recognizes that. It’s the No. 1 market in our country.”
February’s Super Bowl victory by the New Orleans Saints over the Indianapolis Colts was the most-watched U.S. television program in history, with Nielsen Media counting the audience at 106.5 million. Staging the game in the New York area may slightly boost the rating for 2014, especially if severe weather intrudes, according to Neil Pilson, a former president of CBS Sports.
“I’m not sure cold weather is an audience generator,” he said in an interview. “But dramatically low temperatures seem to draw an audience and also if you have heavy snow.”
The open-air stadium so far has staged lacrosse and soccer matches, and this week is hosting concerts by Jon Bon Jovi. It is the first built to serve as the home of two NFL teams and will host 20 regular and preseason games each year, more than any other venue, beginning in August.
The 82,500-seat stadium is in the nation’s most populous metropolitan area and about 10 miles west of the NFL’s headquarters on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Organizers have estimated an economic impact from the game of $500 million-$550 million in the region.
Giants owner John Mara called the selection of the New York region “a unique opportunity to play the biggest game in the world on the biggest stage in the world” in an interview on the league’s NFL Network.
The New York area never has held a Super Bowl, which began in Los Angeles in January 1967 and has been played a combined 19 times in Miami and New Orleans. The coldest temperature at kickoff was 39 degrees Fahrenheit, during Super Bowl VI in January 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The coldest NFL game on record was the 1967 championship between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The temperature at kickoff on Dec. 31 was minus 13 degrees and the game became known as the “Ice Bowl.” Green Bay won 21-17 and went on to beat the Oakland Raiders of what was then the American Football League in Super Bowl II in Miami.
Dallas is scheduled to host the Super Bowl in 2011, Indianapolis in 2012 and New Orleans in 2013. All those games will be played in domed stadiums.