Atlantic Cities

Imagining a Super Bowl in London

Imagining a Super Bowl in London
Reuters

An astounding story on a CBS News sports blog earlier this week reported that the NFL team owners have been talking about holding a future Super Bowl overseas, more specifically in London, perhaps as soon as Super Bowl L (that's Super Bowl 50 for those of you who need a refresher on Roman numerals) in 2015.

"We have the 50-year anniversary coming up, which we’re looking at. There are some members of our committee who have been thinking about having an international Super Bowl in London," Super Bowl committee member and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told the network.

It isn't the first time London has been mentioned as a possible site: Roger Goodell suggested it in 2007.

The comments on the story were incredulous, but I can’t say that I was surprised.

London after all is one of the greatest and richest cities in the world. The NFL actually played more than a dozen games in Wembley Stadium through the course of the 1980s and '90s. The thought of a Super Bowl half-time show there boggles the imagination.

Global super-star cities like London, Shanghai, and Rio are magnets for wealth. Pretty soon, those kinds of the cities will be the only ones that can afford to hold them.

Global cities put up huge bucks for the Olympics and other mega-sporting events. Unlike baseball, basketball, or hockey, whose championships are played on the home fields of the contending teams, the site of the Super Bowl is selected by a committee based on factors like stadium capacity and quality, climate conditions, hotel capacity, and the ability of a city to host a mega-event. The NFL stands to make a fortune by bidding out the rights to a global Super Bowl which, let’s face it, is what the Super Bowl and other ultra-large-scale sports events are about.

As for Londoners not being such big fans of American football: tickets for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis sold for an average price of about $5,000. People who can afford that can easily afford to make the trip to London.  

Keywords: London, Super Bowl

Richard Florida is Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities. He's also a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and Global Research Professor at New York University. He is a frequent speaker to communities, business and professional organizations, and founder of the Creative Class Group, whose current client list can be found here. All posts »

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