Ric Campo is the head of Houston’s Super Bowl bid committee. He won’t say the 2017 Super Bowl is a sure thing for Houston. But he does say this:
“Clearly that puts Florida at a competitive disadvantage to both the San Francisco bid and the Houston bid.”
The Florida legislative session ended Friday without a decision on providing funding to improve the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium. South Florida is one of three contenders for Super Bowls L and LI in 2016 and 2017. But without a renovated stadium, South Florida’s chances look bleak.
Chances are now good that San Francisco will be awarded the 2016 Super Bowl and Houston the one in 2017.
If so, Campo says, things will be different from 2004, the last time Houston hosted the NFL championship game.
“We’ll have the east-west light rail completed by then, it actually opens in 2014. We’ll also have a new 1,000-room Marriott-Marquis hotel, which will be on the north side of Discovery Green, and of course in 2004, we didn’t have Discovery Green, so we will have a much more robust set of assets and set of fan experience areas.”
An area of downtown around Discovery Green would be Super Bowl “El Centro” with fun things to do for fans.
He says what Houston has learned from hosting the event the last time is that there need to be bigger spaces for the public and better crowd management. He says the improved public transit system should help with that. What Campo hopes will also change is the empty Astrodome that’s sitting next to Reliant Stadium.
“I think clearly anything that makes Reliant Center better helps our bid. I think in our communication with the NFL we have given them all the information that they need that sort of shows that the county and the county sports corporation is on a track that will enhance Reliant Park and do something with the Dome within the next few years and hopefully before ’17.”
Campo says having the Super Bowl here in Houston has more than just economic benefits. He says the spirit and camaraderie during that time and the international recognition the city gets can’t be underestimated.
All that sounds great, but let’s not forget, it’s not a done deal yet, as Greg Ortale of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau points out.
“We think that we have the best product, we think we have the best proposal but if you can predict how 32 billionaires are going to vote on any particular day, then you should get out of journalism and get into betting.”
The NFL team owners will choose the host city for Super Bowl L on May 22.