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Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Interest in hosting SB hasn't waned

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com

Another Super Bowl is in the books, and now comes the inevitable speculation -- perhaps wishing by Bears fans -- about the NFL holding the big game in Chicago.

According to this story by The Associated Press, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has begun lobbying NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf of the Bears for the opportunity to host the Super Bowl in 2019. The next three Super Bowls are already set, while the 2018 field of potential hosts has been narrowed to Indianapolis, Minneapolis and New Orleans, meaning the next shot at another cold-weather Super Bowl is 2019.

In May 2010, the league’s owners voted to hold the game in the New York area, and for the most part, the game -- despite a lopsided 43-8 Seattle victory -- was seen as a success, possibly setting the stage for another cold-weather venue. Goodell, according to The Associated Press story, was noncommittal when asked about the possibility of another cold-weather Super Bowl.
“We know there’s interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl,” Goodell said. “I think the ownership, we’ll all sit back and review that when we’re doing. But we have a very aggressive process in how to select cities. The ability to host a Super Bowl is more and more complicated, more and more complex, because of the size of the event and the number of events. So the infrastructure’s incredibly important. We’re well over 30,000 hotel rooms needed to host the Super Bowl. So there’s some communities that may not even be able to do it from an infrastructure standpoint, but we know the passion’s there.”

Especially in the city of Chicago, where this subject has been broached by the mayor on numerous occasions. Emanuel has said Chicago would “be a perfect place to have a Super Bowl.” The city successfully hosted NATO’s 2012 summit.

“First of all, we’ve always been good enough to host the Super Bowl,” Emanuel said back in 2012.

But as Goodell has pointed out, infrastructure comes into play. Soldier Field’s capacity of 63,500 would need to be evaluated in Chicago’s potential bid for a Super Bowl. MetLife Stadium, which hosted Sunday’s Super Bowl, holds 82,500.

“Capacity is always an issue,” Goodell said in 2012 during a news conference to honor Soldier Field as the first NFL stadium to receive certification by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). “Obviously, not everyone can get into the stadium, but they want to be a part of the event. We know the great passion [for] football here in Chicago. It’s one of the things we’ll look at if there’s interest in hosting here.”

The interest certainly exists, but Chicago will have to fight off other potential cold-weather venues such as FedEx Field (Washington), Gillette Stadium (New England), Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia) and Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver).