Do you want to see the Super Bowl? Everyone who even casually watches football has surely, at some point, contemplated the idea of shelling out the big bucks to view North America’s biggest game in person. Maybe you’re just waiting for it to be hosted a little closer, like Philadelphia perhaps. Unfortunately, the daydream stops there. The city that hosts the Super Bowl has to meet certain requirements, and it pains me to tell you, dear reader, that there are a laundry list of reasons that Philadelphia will never host the game.
Let’s begin with the obvious. The NFL already selects where the Super Bowl will be as far as five years in advance (Miami, Tampa, LA, Phoenix and New Orleans are already slated for numbers 54-58). Additionally, as of 2018, the NFL rescinded individual franchises ability to bid for hosting privileges, instead creating a system in which the league picks a city every year that must then put forth a proposal.
But that’s all managerial. Let’s say that in a couple years the NFL decides that one of the games in the next decade should be played right here in the City of Brotherly Love. Long story short, they wouldn’t.
In 2014, a 153-page document which outlines the League’s requirements for Super Bowl Hosting were leaked to the public, and if you thought that the decision process was as easy as going to whomever deserves it, you could not be more wrong.
First of all, the NFL requires that the average game day temperature for the city that hosts be 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. One step outside will tell you the City of Brotherly Love gets nowhere close, with the average temperatures for January and February always hovering around a solid 30 degrees.
Furthermore, the League asks for a stadium that seats 70,000 and can park 35,000 cars at a minimum.
Lincoln Financial Field falls short by a thousand seats and 13,000 parking spots. These are just the standard requirements. After this, the leaked documents outlined a series of more . . . interesting requests from the NFL.
The National Football League requires that the hotels and stadiums used for the players have sufficient Wi-Fi and ATM access. If not, the city is required to provide mobile signal boosting towers as well as a number of temporary monetary machines. The League also asks for “familiarization trips” to be set up for players and officials so they understand the area and facilities. In addition to “significant advertising and promotional time” devoted to the big game in the weeks leading up to it.
Most crucially however, the NFL asks that all of these additions, broadcasts and construction projects (i.e. the temporary party venues set up for players and visiting fans) be tax exempt and completely paid for by the host city. It is for these reasons that cities which lack certain requirements are forced to devote unprecedented amounts of money to meeting them. In 2013, the city of New Orleans notably invested more than one billion dollars in improvements to its sporting complex, as well as to its infrastructure, to meet the needs of the League.
Is this excessive? At face value, it would appear that the NFL is just milking metropolitan areas for large sums of money with the promise of some national recognition and a good football game. As true as that may be, the Super Bowl is more than just a game. All of the other playoff games simply follow standard game rules, but the finale has to be something more. It represents a year of the investments made by millions of fans worldwide to an entertainment medium that for many is more than just a hobby, but a way of life.
In reality, the Superbowl is a culmination of some of the best athletes in the world with several internationally recognized musicians and performers wedged into the middle and over a week of professional analysis. If you still think the burden is too high, then perhaps it’s for the best Philadelphia never gets to host, but the truth is that our city might be missing out on something truly unique.
Matthew Shimkonis is a first-year student majoring in history. MS925373@wcupa.edu.