Darren Rovell, ESPN’s sports business reporter, took to Twitter on Friday evening to inform everyone of something most of us already knew.
“This will be the last Super Bowl for Minnesota,” Rovell wrote. “Too much money at stake on Friday and Saturday for cold to keep corporate money away. League can’t afford to do it with sponsors needing to activate effectively.”
Activate effectively must be code for being able to play golf a few days before the game or enjoy a beverage while wearing shorts.
While Thursday and Friday’s temperatures were definitely cold, for most who live here it was no big deal and business as usual. But if you’re a wealthy executive whose corporation helps the NFL pay its bills the past few days have been miserable. Say what you want about those people, but they are the ones who matter most.
As I write this column, it’s snowing outside and, according to the weather report, the high temperature for Sunday is supposed to be 6 degrees with afternoon wind chills making it feel like it’s 15 to 20 below. There’s also a chance for more morning flurries.
That’s weather in which it’s going to be difficult to effectively activate anything. No matter how effective the Minneapolis skyway system might be not everyone is going to be able to use it. There will be plenty of people making seven-figure salaries who are going to have to stand outside in order to get into U.S. Bank Stadium.
If you are now screaming, “But the Super Bowl was here before and it came back!” you are correct. The 1992 game was held in the Metrodome. But here’s the point: A 26-year gap, at least when it comes to Super Bowls, is more like 100 years.
The 1992 Super Bowl, compared to this one, was a cute little event. This one swallowed up downtown and the Mall of America for the entire week.
Many who attend the Super Bowl – the majority of whom don’t care what teams are playing – are looking for comfort and luxury at every turn. The best hotels, restaurants, parties and, of course, weather.
Vikings owner Mark Wilf expressed optimism Wednesday about another Super Bowl coming to Minnesota.
“I’m hopeful that the world and the country and the NFL and fellow owners will see that this a great community and maybe we’ll have this come here again,” he said. I think that’s something that’s certainly going to be on the radar. There’s certainly challenges with the weather; that’s a given in these northern cities.
“The flip side of it is, I think, the fan base, the community, the corporate support here and the appreciation of getting an event like this takes it to another level. … Indianapolis did a great job (with Super Bowl XLVI). Detroit did a great job (with Super Bowl XL). Why not have more northern Super Bowls? They’ve proven every time that it’s been here in the north that it’s been successful.”
Wilf said this before the bottom dropped out on the temperature and the snow flurries arrived.
From all accounts, things have gone very well this week when it comes to the events surrounding the Super Bowl. But one must keep in mind, the only reason the game is here is because the NFL threatened us until they got U.S. Bank Stadium built at a price of $1.1 billion.
Is there a chance we get another Super Bowl in 30 years when the NFL hints that the Vikings might be headed to San Diego if U.S. Bank Stadium isn’t replaced? Probably not.
Here’s why. The NFL’s current operating procedure is to beat up cities until they build new stadiums and then award that city a Super Bowl. It’s why Detroit and Indianapolis got the game.
But in a few years, the NFL is going to see it doesn’t need to do that and will simply threaten relocation if it doesn’t get what it wants.
Eventually, there would appear to be a very good chance that we’ll have a rotation of Super Bowl cities. That list likely would include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Miami and, perhaps, a fifth city could get into the mix every so often. So would Minnesota be in that mix? Um, no.
Don’t take it personally, Minnesota. You’ve done yourself proud this week.
The NFL, however, wants sun, sand and palm trees.
A wind chill of minus 20 on game day? Sorry, but that’s bad for business.