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NFL changes Super Bowl bidding process

during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

Ronald Martinez

With the recent ownership meetings so heavily focused on the anthem controversy, not much other business got done. But here’s one item that will be significant to the manner in which Super Bowls are awarded.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league no longer will put Super Bowls out to bid. Instead, the process will commence with the league approaching a specific city regarding a specific future Super Bowl, outlining the terms the NFL needs in order to grant the game to that location.

The selected city will have an opportunity to decide whether to accept the terms. If the selected city declines, then the process will revert to the more traditional submission of bids.

While this approach sacrifices a certain amount of the league’s leverage, the NFL has become sensitive to the disappointment that the close-but-no-cigar cities experience every time they find themselves in the role of bridesmaid. When, for example, Minnesota was awarded Super Bowl LII, cities like New Orleans resolved (we were told at the time) never to waste the time, effort, money, and emotion to bid on the game when competing with a new stadium.

As to the loss of leverage, it’s possible the league has decided that the game has grown to the point where it can dictate the terms, and that the city given the chance to host the game will quickly say, “OK.”