Super Bowl heads to New York region for first time

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - The NFL fulfilled a marketing dream on Tuesday by bringing their most prestigious game to the Big Apple, awarding the New York area the 2014 Super Bowl despite fears of cold weather.

The league's championship game, held annually since 1967, has never been played in the New York area, nor played outdoors in a cold climate.

A vote by the league's 32 owners supported a bid to have the Super Bowl held in the New Meadowlands Stadium where the New York Giants and New York Jets play their home games across the state line in New Jersey.

The $1.6 billion, 82,566 capacity stadium will host the two teams for the first time in the upcoming NFL season, replacing the old Giants stadium.

The joint New York/New Jersey bid beat out offers from Florida rivals Tampa and Miami -- with 14 previous Super Bowls between them.

While critics have worried that freezing and windy weather in the New York area in winter could ruin the occasion, the winning bid's presentation embraced the cold as being part of the game's traditions.

"What a great place to have it, it couldn't be a more fun or more appropriate location - it will be played outside and I hope it snows," said Woody Johnson, Jets chairman and CEO.

"The world's biggest game will take place on the world's biggest stage," New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

"People talk about the weather but this is football, this isn't beach volleyball," he added.

Not surprisingly for a sport where profit competes with touchdowns as the main aim, the winning bid even included "NFL branded weather-specific merchandise," possibly woolly hats and scarves, among it's selling points.


The NFL has traditionally insisted the Super Bowl, normally played in January or February, must be held in areas where the external temperature exceeds 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) or in a stadium that has a closed roof.

But the league's Super Bowl Advisory Committee agreed to a waiver for 2014 to allow the Giants and Jets to submit a joint bid for their new stadium opening this year.

"Obviously it will be cold, but that's what playing football is all about," Giants quarterback Eli Manning told Fox News Channel's 'Studio B with Shepard Smith' show.

"I think it's great. I've played in the Super Bowl and I've been to a couple of Super Bowls and if you're not in it, the Super Bowl is an event, kind of a place to be.

"There's no better place to be than New York City for that vibe and that atmosphere," said Manning, who won with the Giants, in Arizona, in February 2008

The decision could prompt other Northern stadiums to bid for a chance to host what it was one of global sport's biggest televised events.

"Our slogan was make history, we made history? Will a lot of other East coast teams try to do the same? I think they will," said Steve Tisch, Giants chairman.

Miami has hosted the Super Bowl 10 times, including this year. Tampa staged the game for the fourth time last year.

Dallas (2011), Indianapolis (2012) and New Orleans (2013) will host the next three Super Bowls.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)