NFL owners pumped the brakes this week on sending the Super Bowl to Las Vegas, but likely only for the short term.
Once Nevada welcomes its first Super Bowl, some NFL officials say the city will host every few years. That information came out in a report from Pro Football Talk.
The league announced at this week’s owners meetings in Atlanta that the next two Super Bowls bids were won by Arizona (2023) and New Orleans (2024). These two bids might be the last in the old process of bidding for the game.
The league appears poised to shift to a regular rotation of hosts including Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The league’s tangled position on sports betting makes this notable, if not unexpected. The NFL this week pushed for federal legislation regulating sports betting after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA on May 14.
Las Vegas will wait longer than its team wanted
The new stadium being built in Las Vegas for the Raiders now will not host the Super Bowl until at least 2025. The $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat house that lured the Raiders from Oakland will not open until mid-2020.
Raiders officials, though, targeted 2024 as the first year they saw as a Super Bowl possibility. That hope appeared realistic, given the NFL’s practice of awarding the game to cities that build a new stadium or renovate an old one. Including this year’s contest in Minneapolis, four of the next five Super Bowls will go in such cities.
The upcoming schedule of games required a change last year when the new mega-complex in Los Angeles fell behind schedule. The Inglewood-based project reportedly went off-track because of heavy rains, pushing the planned Super Bowl there from 2021 to 2022.
Super Bowl already a party in Las Vegas
Just what Las Vegas will gain from hosting the Super Bowl presents an intriguing question. Along with the first four days of March Madness, Super Bowl weekend is one of the city’s hottest weekends. Hotels run near full capacity and parties abound in the desert.
Betting on the Super Bowl continues to boom as well. Handle surpassed $400 million for Nevada sportsbooks in February, the first time it eclipsed that figure in that month.
Given the enormous costs of putting on the game, some Las Vegas officials quietly question the draw of bringing it here. Las Vegas also does not need the week-long TV advertisement that a city like Minneapolis gains from hosting.
The NFL Draft could be another story
Las Vegas remains in the running to host the 2020 NFL Draft, along with Cleveland and Kansas City. The interesting piece of a 2020 bid for Las Vegas is the new stadium will not yet be open.
Where in the desert the event might land remains an open question. No available local venue could match the enormity of this year’s spectacle from AT&T Stadium in Dallas.