National Football League owners, lured by playing the sport’s biggest game on the largest stage, combined with the promise that snow would not grind the event to a halt, awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to New York on Tuesday afternoon, making the New Meadowlands Stadium the host of what will be the first cold-weather Super Bowl.
But the vote also represented an embrace of New York’s abundant entertainment, promotional and financial opportunities. The proposal called for everything from a Super Bowl float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade Read oto a party at Liberty State Park. Of more interest to a league bent on building revenue and an international audience is that the weeklong extravaganza would play out in the global media and business capital, and in an area where 36 percent of the 20 million people who live in the region were born outside the United States.
Those considerations outweighed concerns by some owners opposed to a cold-weather game that snow could wreak havoc on a week’s worth of parties and planning and that the outcome of the championship game could be affected by foul weather. In bid materials obtained by The New York Times, the organizers promised everything from hand-warmers to fire pits in the parking lots to keep fans comfortable and snowplows to clear the streets.
“Elements can be a common factor in how a season unfolds, so why can’t it be a factor in how the ultimate championship is determined,” Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys’ owner and a proponent of the New York Super Bowl, said before the vote was taken.
The New York bid first gained momentum in December, when owners waived a rule that called for outdoor Super Bowls to be played in cities where the average February temperature is at least 50 degrees. In fact, the bid exploited the possibility of bad weather, encouraging owners to go “old school” in playing a game that could rival some of the most memorable in N.F.L. history because they were played in the elements.
New York became the clear favorite at the most recent Super Bowl — played in South Florida — when Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose tenure has been marked by a desire to break from the status quo, indicated that he found the idea of a New York game attractive.
Shortly after that, Arizona, considered a strong contender to host future Super Bowls, dropped out of the bidding, leaving New York as the front-runner. The New York bid also enjoyed the support of a large group of influential owners, including Jones, the New England Patriots’ Robert K. Kraft and the Denver Broncos’ Pat Bowlen, as well as others who voted for New York out of loyalty to the long-respected family of the Giants owner John Mara.
The New York bid encountered its greatest resistance from owners who remain concerned that the New York Super Bowl opens the door for other cold-weather cities — Denver and Washington among them — to bid for future games, and who dislike the idea that bad weather could tilt the balance of the game.
Cold-weather Super Bowls are unlikely to become the norm, but the N.F.L. has made no promise that the New York game would be a one-time cold-weather event, and owners of cold-weather teams, including those in Philadelphia and Cleveland, backed the New York bid, perhaps with their eyes on the future.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Web site, the coldest outdoor game in Super Bowl history was Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans: the temperature at game time was 39 degrees. Super Bowl IX, also at Tulane Stadium, was 46 degrees. And six other outdoor games had game time temperatures in the 50s.
The New York Super Bowl would be the most expensive to stage — the host committee must raise $40 million for the event — but estimates for the economic impact on the area range widely from $55 million to $550 million, the optimistic number proffered by the bid organizers.
The Giants and the Jets will not make any money off the Super Bowl, but the promise of hosting the game could ratchet up interest in bidding for the multimillion-dollar naming rights for the new stadium, a market that has slowed during the recession and as businesses have become concerned with the appearance of spending money to put their name on a stadium.
But that was not on owners’ minds Tuesday. They are caretakers of the most aggressively hyped event in American sports, and the New York bid promised more of that — prepare for a “season of events” to promote the game for a full year — than any other city could offer. The buildup to the vote alone generated more buzz than any other. Even the fear of freezing rain on Super Bowl Sunday was not enough to dampen the N.F.L.’s enthusiasm for a bid that called a papal Mass mere “practice” for the Super Bowl.
“I’ll bet if it happens,” Kraft said on Monday, “it will be one of the most memorable games in the history of all Super Bowls.”