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The 50th Super Bowl goes to San Francisco Bay Area
BOSTON (AP) - The NFL will celebrate its 50th Super Bowl in northern California, where its newest, most high-tech venue is being built.
That makes South Florida, in the midst of a spat over expensive stadium renovations, a loser for the 2016 game.
And Miami took a double defeat when Houston was awarded the 2017 championship game.
In two separate votes, NFL owners Tuesday went with the both San Francisco Bay Area and Houston on the first ballot at their spring meetings. The 49ers’ new home is set to open next year in Santa Clara, and will host the first Super Bowl in the area since 1985.
Houston staged the 2004 Super Bowl. Miami has hosted 10 of them _ including the Jets upset of the Colts in 1969 _ and is tied with New Orleans for the most. But South Florida got rejected twice after the Florida Legislature did not support financing to renovate Sun Life Stadium.
“We are so excited to be able to be able to put on the `Golden Super Bowl’ in the Golden State,” 49ers CEO Jed York said.
They will stage it in what is being promoted as the most technologically advanced stadium in the world, and earned that right on a day when the NFL made a $400 million deal with Microsoft to upgrade the fan viewing experience. Levi’s Stadium figures to be the first cashless, ticketless venue in NFL championship history, with WiFi capability for 75,000 people.
“After losing a Super Bowl (to Baltimore last February), it feels really good to win a Super Bowl,” York cracked.
Houston hosted once before, in 2004, and is calling the 51st Super Bowl an international experience that will include fans from Mexico.
“I think a lot of them just felt like, hey, it’s Houston’s time,” Texans owner Robert McNair said of his colleagues. “They knew we could do a good job. From 2004 to `17, that’s 13 years. So I agree, I think it’s Houston’s time.”
The only previous Super Bowl played in northern California was at Stanford Stadium in 1985.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the 2016 decision, members of the San Francisco bid committee let out a roar of approval, then toasted each other with champagne.
Asked what he believed swayed the owners to vote for San Francisco, York added: “It’s the will power of an entire area that gave an overwhelming push for us.”
It was the first time in a decade that a Super Bowl was awarded on the first ballot.
“The Bay Area has been waiting for a (title) game since 1985. We have a stadium now … we are just thrilled and couldn’t be happier about this,” said Daniel Lurie, a leader of the San Francisco bid.
By Donald Lambro
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