New Orleans’s 38-Year-Old Superdome Loses Bid to Host Super Bowl

If you build it, they will come.

That has been the trend as the National Football League favors cities with new stadiums over more traditional locations like Miami and Pasadena, Calif., when team owners gather to decide which city will be awarded a Super Bowl.

When N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, announced this week that Minneapolis beat out two other finalists, New Orleans and Indianapolis, for Super Bowl LII in 2018, the adage was reinforced.

Several cities with new stadiums have already secured Super Bowls. Glendale, Ariz., Santa Clara, Calif., and Houston are scheduled to host the next three.

Next year, for the second time, Glendale will host the game at the University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in 2006; it was the site of Super Bowl XLII in 2008. Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, opens this year in Santa Clara. Houston’s NRG Stadium, formerly Reliant Stadium, will host the Super Bowl in 2017 for the second time since opening in 2002.

AT&T Stadium opened in 2009 in Arlington, Texas, and was the site of the 2011 Super Bowl. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., which opened in 2010, hosted the Super Bowl this year.

Minneapolis’s victory in the three-city bidding battle came as a shock to some because New Orleans, which will celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2018, was heavily favored to host the Super Bowl for what would have been a record 11th time, according to Adam Rank of New Orleans is tied with Miami for the most Super Bowls hosted by a market, with 10.

Minneapolis played host to Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills 37-24. The game was played in the Metrodome, which closed in December after 31 years.

This time Minneapolis is offering a new indoor stadium, which is under construction and is set to open in 2016; it is projected to cost about $975 million. It will feature a transparent roof on its south side and 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors to reveal the downtown Minneapolis skyline.

Minneapolis is the only market to offer nonstop flights from every N.F.L. city, in addition to a light-rail transportation system that connects the stadium to the airport and hotels in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington, Minn.

The city also plans to provide heated canopies and to turn the downtown Nicollet Mall area into a nearly mile-long Super Bowl Boulevard with a number of outdoor activities. The St. Paul Winter Carnival, usually held in late January, will also be linked to Super Bowl week.
The average high temperature in Minneapolis on Feb. 4 is 26 degrees. The average low is 9 degrees. For some in New Orleans, losing out on the historical aspect of New Orleans’s bid was more disappointing than hearing the game would be in a cold-weather city.

“It’s stupid,” said Dwight Temple, 62, who lives in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans. “It’s 300 years of existence versus a new stadium. It’s a travesty.”

Mr. Temple thinks that the city’s tricentennial warranted bringing the Super Bowl back to New Orleans despite its having hosted the game just a year ago, when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.

That game might have played a role in New Orleans’s bidding loss, which was its only loss after securing it in its previous 10 attempts. The 2012 game may forever be remembered as the one when the lights went out in the Superdome, causing a 34-minute delay of the game.
New Orleans’s Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which opened in 1975, is also the oldest stadium of the 2018 finalists.

“It should be here anyway, but it’s really their decision to make,” said Jeff Starks, who said he has been a Saints fan since Bobby Hebert played quarterback for the team from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s. “Last time it was a huge party. You could hardly walk up and down Bourbon Street.”

In the same city where Goodell announced that Minneapolis would host Super Bowl LII, the Atlanta Falcons broke ground on a new stadium to be opened in three years. Atlanta is hoping that Goodell will reward their efforts with Super Bowl LIII in 2019.