BOSTON -- The Super Bowl is coming back to Houston in 2017.
NFL owners awarded Super Bowl LI to Houston on Tuesday at the league's spring meetings in Boston. Houston won in a vote over South Florida after San Francisco won Super Bowl L in 2016.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am for Houston in being selected as the site for the 2017 Super Bowl,” Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair said. “This is a worldwide stage that will be constructed in Houston and the world will be watching. It’s an opportunity to showcase our wonderful city, the NFL and the Super Bowl all at the same time.”
This is the third Super Bowl for Houston and the first since Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in 2004. The Bayou City also hosted Super Bowl VIII in 1974. The Texans are installing new video boards at Reliant this offseason that will be the largest in a sports stadium in the world.
“It’s a great city,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “They have a terrific stadium. They obviously put together a proposal that got a great deal of support from our membership. They deserve the Super Bowl, and we’re thrilled to be part of that and I think it’s going to be great for the game.”
The Houston Super Bowl Bid Committee, led by chairman Ric Campo, submitted its final bid to each of the NFL owners on May 8. Campo and NRG Energy CEO David Crane made their final presentation in Boston on Tuesday afternoon by. Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, the Honorary Chair for the committee, delivered a video message to the owners on Tuesday.
“We’ve accomplished what we set out to do,” Campo said. “Thanks to the support and efforts of Mayor (Annise) Parker, (Harris County) Judge (Ed) Emmett and the entire Houston Bid Committee, we’re bringing another Super Bowl back to Houston. Our plans for the international celebration leading up to the game will create an unprecedented fan experience for Super Bowl LI.”
An innovative part of Houston’s bid was a 10-day festival leading up to the game called “Super Bowl El Centro,” which McNair said will create “very much an international and a regional experience.” Houston will invite fans from cities all over Texas and Mexico for events during the week.
The hub for many Super Bowl activities will be Discovery Green, an 11.87-acre downtown park that opened in 2008. McNair said it can hold more than 100,000 people without having to close any city streets. He also estimated that Houston will attract upward of 500,000 visitors, 1,200 members of the media and 20,000 volunteers for the Super Bowl.
Aside from the impact the game will make on the city of Houston, Super Bowl LI could potentially have a huge benefit for the Texans. They could become the first NFL team to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
“I think that’s a great goal to work towards,” McNair said, smiling. “It’s never been done before. I’d love to see that happen. That would be very exciting.”