Atlanta’s bid group hopes to bring the Super Bowl to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in February 2019. But if that doesn’t work out, the competition just got a lot tougher for the following year.
Los Angeles, which recently regained an NFL franchise for the first time in 21 years, has joined the bidding to host the Super Bowl in 2020 and 2021.
Atlanta submitted a preliminary bid late last year for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls. The city’s competition remains the same as before for the 2019 game — Miami, New Orleans and Tampa — but now add a new Los Angeles stadium to the mix for 2020. In addition, Atlanta will submit a bid for the 2021 Super Bowl, which the NFL added to the process as part of the late addition of Los Angeles to the bidding.
“By adding 2021, it provides all of the bid cities another option to pursue as far as a host year,” Atlanta Sports Council executive director Dan Corso said Thursday. “We will pursue all three years, but our focus will remain on 2019.”
NFL owners will vote at a May 23-25 meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on the three Super Bowl sites. No city will be awarded more than one of the available games.
The 2019 Super Bowl long has been Atlanta’s preference, because that is the first one the new downtown stadium — slated to open next year — is eligible to seek under NFL guidelines that ordinarily require a venue to be open for two NFL regular seasons before hosting a Super Bowl.
NFL owners voted in January to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles. The Rams will play the next three seasons in L.A. Memorial Coliseum, then open a new Inglewood stadium complex with a projected cost as high as $3 billion in 2019.
The NFL rule that a stadium must be open for two seasons before hosting a Super Bowl was waived for Los Angeles, enabling the city to bid for the February 2020 event.
“… We’re excited by the opportunity to bid for either 2020 or 2021,” Rams executive vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff told The Los Angeles Times, which first reported L.A.’s entry into the Super Bowl bidding Thursday morning. “We recognize there are a lot of great candidates who have already bid, and we’re working quickly to make sure that Los Angeles’ bid can be considered and we can return the Super Bowl to Southern California and Inglewood.”
Atlanta bid organizers believe the February 2019 Super Bowl would fit neatly with two other marquee events already awarded to the new Falcons stadium: the January 2018 College Football Playoff national-championship game and the April 2020 college-basketball Final Four.
“That would be one heck of a three-year run that we would like to see happen,” Corso said.