Could London Host the Super Bowl? | Sports Destination Management

Could London Host the Super Bowl?

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Feb 26, 2022 | By: Michael Popke
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London-based Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur is hoping to make history as the first non-U.S. host for the Super Bowl. Their $1.6 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has hosted NFL play previously. Photo © Cosmin Iftode | Dreamstime.com

In February, the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI and became the second consecutive team to win the big game in their home stadium. But teams in Super Bowl LX in 2026 might not have the opportunity to play a for a championship in front of the hometown crowd.

As Front Office Sports reported, “London-based Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur is hoping to make history as the first non-U.S. host for the Super Bowl.” With the Super Bowl LX  venue still unnamed, the move to London could happen as early as 2026.

The $1.6 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium opened in 2019 and currently hosts two regular-season NFL games each year as part of a 10-year $54.5 million deal that began in 2015.

“The NFL do not pay a staging fee, and the bidding process is akin to that for a World Cup or Olympic Games, with the NFL making an onerous list of demands of their hosts on issues such as parking, hotels and tax exemptions,” noted The Daily Mail in England, calling Tottenham’s vision “audacious” yet seemingly encouraging the effort. “Putting on the Super Bowl would be a huge boost for Tottenham’s global standing however, while even an unsuccessful bid could raise their profile in America and help the club’s attempt to find a naming-rights partner.”

The biggest obstacle to taking the Super Bowl overseas could be the time difference; London is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States, meaning that a typical 6:30 p.m. (EST) start time in the homeland would put kickoff at 11:30 p.m. in London, stretching Super Sunday into Super Monday across the pond.

“Tottenham will face competition from other venues if the NFL do opt to take the Super Bowl abroad, with sources indicating that Stadium Australia in Sydney would also be interested,” according to The Daily Mail. “While regular-season NFL matches have yet to be held in Australia, the time difference is more suitable, with an afternoon kick-off in Sydney hitting prime-time American TV audiences.”

After taking a break from teams traveling abroad in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL is gearing up for holding a guaranteed four international games per season in the United Kingdom, Mexico and Germany, beginning in 2022. Last year, NFL owners approved a resolution stating that all 32 teams would be mandated to play overseas at least once every eight years. According to ESPN.com, the Green Bay Packers are the only NFL team to never play outside of the United States.

The NFL will play five regular-season games internationally in 2022 — three in London (two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and one at Wembley Stadium), one in Mexico (at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City) and one in Germany (at Allianz Arena in Munich). According to ESPN.com, it will be the first time the NFL will return to Germany since five preseason games were played in that country between 1990 and 1994.

“The country also had a number of host cities for teams in the NFL’s overseas competitions (the World League of American Football, NFL Europe and NFL Europa) between 1991 and 2007, though Munich was never involved in that period,” the site noted.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Nashville might soon enter the Super Bowl host-city mix.

“The NFL’s Tennessee Titans are reportedly exploring the possibility of a new stadium after reports in January revealed the team was considering upgrades at Nissan Stadium — its home field since 1999 — that could cost up to $600 million and include a new entertainment district,” Front Office Sports reported on Feb. 21. “The possibility of a new stadium is the result of rising costs associated with the upgrades.”

Serious questions remain, though. For example, if a new stadium were built, would it be domed? “An indoor stadium would position Nashville to host the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final [Four] and winter-time concerts,” predicted Axios Nashville. “This would increase the overall tax benefit to the city, but also drive up the stadium costs.”

Here are the host venues for the next three Super Bowls:

• Super Bowl LVII: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. (2023)

• Super Bowl LVIII: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas (2024)

• Super Bowl LIX: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans (2025)

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