CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Four months after giving the Rams the green light to return to Los Angeles, NFL owners on Tuesday awarded the city the right to host the Super Bowl in early 2021, after an absence of 28 years.
The game will be played at the soon-to-be built $2.6-billion Inglewood stadium, which is scheduled to open for the 2019 season.
In what could be a first, L.A. – in head-to-head competition with Tampa – received a super-majority consensus in the first round of voting. That means it got at least 24 of 32 votes on the secret ballot. The league does not disclose the exact results because the process pits owner against owner. Atlanta was awarded the game in 2019 and South Florida in 2020.
New Orleans and Tampa were unsuccessful in their bids. The next two Super Bowls will be played in Houston and Minneapolis.
"I think it's very much a reflection of the excitement the ownership has for returning to Los Angeles, and the importance of having a Super Bowl back there after several decades," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We're all interested in coming back with a great deal of enthusiasm."
The NFL, which has staged 50 Super Bowls, will celebrate its 100th season in 2019, meaning Super Bowl LV in Inglewood will be the end of its 101st season. last L.A. last hosted the game in 1993 when Dallas beat Buffalo at the Rose Bowl.
"The first Super Bowl was held in Los Angeles, and to have one come back and be the first of the next century is fantastic," said Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who was angling for the third of the three games awarded so the development surrounding the stadium would be further along.
"The Los Angeles region is built to host the Super Bowl," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said in a combined statement. "We helped forge this great American tradition at the Coliseum when it began in 1967; and we're thrilled to bring it back where it belongs for Super Bowl LV."
Although L.A. had originally intended to bid on both the 2020 and 2021 games, thereby increasing its odds to host one, the city's bid committee bowed out of the competition for the earlier game Tuesday and turned its attention to 2021.
The Super Bowl proposals were due April 15, allowing four of the bidding cities/regions to have since last summer to work on them. Because the Rams didn't win approval to relocate from St. Louis until mid-January, however, the NFL didn't make a request for an L.A. proposal until early March, leaving the L.A. bid committee less than six weeks to pull together its pitch.
That bid committee was composed of Chairman Casey Wasserman, who is also spearheading the effort to bring the 2024 Olympic Games to Southern California; Connor Swarbrick of Wasserman Media Group; Kathy Schloessman and Bob Graziano of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission; Ernest Wooden of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board; Michelle Kerrick of Deloitte; and Rams executive Kevin Demoff.
"Everybody back in L.A. was standing by and waiting for this decision," Wooden said. "For us, it was extraordinary. It was like waiting for your first-born baby. We were all just jumping up and down."
Making the 15-minute pitch on behalf of L.A. to the owners Tuesday were Wasserman and Renata Simril of the LA84 Foundation, the nation's leading funder of youth sports programs.
"We emphasized what these types of sporting events mean for our young kids," Simril said. "The popularity of the Rams is a lasting legacy, and being able to build off of that with our youth programs just gives us a tremendous opportunity to expand that platform."
The true value of a Super Bowl to a community is subject to much debate, with some experts arguing it's worth as much as $500 million and others saying those estimates are wildly inflated.
Not in question is that hosting a Super Bowl is an expensive endeavor. A city's host committee is required to privately raise about $35 million through sponsorships and donations. That money pays for a wide range of expenses, including the hotels and practice sites for both participating teams, as well as Super Bowl transportation, security, promotion, accreditation centers, and media events.
In order to make a qualifying bid, a city must ensure at least 22,000 hotel rooms will be available during Super Bowl week. The L.A. bid committee estimates that the week leading up to and including the game would generate at least 100,000 hotel room nights, which would make the Super Bowl the largest event Los Angeles has hosted since the 1984 Olympics.
The plan calls for events throughout Southern California during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, including at various beaches, and downtown.
"Los Angeles is a really unique place to tell the NFL's story," Wasserman said.
The pitch to owners included two brief videos, one touting L.A. in general and the other featuring fans – many of them Hollywood celebrities – talking about the importance of hosting a Super Bowl.
"Everything about this is a natural fit," Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "The most popular entertainment entity is the NFL. To be in the entertainment capital of the world, it should have been that way for these past several years. Now we've got to make up for time lost."
1:40 p.m.: This article has been updated with comments from Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Casey Wasserman, who helped present L.A.'s Super Bowl bid to league owners.