The National Football League has chosen San Francisco as one of two finalists to host the 2016 or 2017 Super Bowl — although the game would be played 50 miles south of The City at the 49ers’ new home in Santa Clara.
Still, Mayor Ed Lee applauded Tuesday’s announcement and said that hundreds of millions of dollars could be pumped into the region if San Francisco is selected.
“San Francisco has proven time and again that we know how to host the world for major events and shine on the international stage,” Lee said in a statement.
Miami is The City’s main competition for the milestone 2016 Super Bowl L — that’s 50 in Roman numerals — which would pit Sun Life Stadium against the new Niners facility, which is scheduled to open for the 2014 season. The NFL prefers good weather for Super Bowl cities, but also locations with new venues to showcase. Whichever city loses the 2016 bid is eligible to compete against Houston for the 2017 game.
The Bay Area has only hosted one Super Bowl — in 1985 at Stanford Stadium, where the 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins 38-16.
Niners CEO Jed York has gone out of his way to keep the team’s namesake city involved in the process, which is a far cry from the prickly relationship between his father and predecessor, John York, and former Mayor Gavin Newsom. The 49ers ultimately balked at San Francisco’s long-standing offer of a new stadium beside aging Candlestick Park in The City’s blighted southeastern corner. Instead, construction is now progressing steadily on Santa Clara’s $1.2 billion, 68,500-seat venue.
The local Super Bowl bid committee will be headed by CEO Daniel Lurie of the Tipping Point philanthropic organization, along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Mayor Willie Brown and local tech investor Ron Conway.
At a Santa Clara stadium groundbreaking event in April, owners, players, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and local politicians touted the team as belonging to the whole Bay Area.
“Jerry Rice, Joe Montana — they left their mark on that field,” tight end Vernon Davis said of Candlestick Park. “We’ll leave our mark on this field.”
In other developments Tuesday at an NFL meeting in Chicago, Raiders owner Mark Davis said his team is not interested in sharing the Santa Clara venue with the Niners, as had been discussed as a possible option. Raiders management had indicated that the team was open to the idea of alternating home games with its cross-Bay counterpart, but never entered formal discussions.
“I give the 49ers all the credit in the world for getting a shovel in the ground in California,” Davis told NFL.com. “That’s phenomenal. But we’re trying to get our situation right. It’s not easy to do.”
The one-time Los Angeles Raiders are among the franchises being discussed as a possible tenant of a new stadium taking shape in that city.