London launches bid to stage the Super Bowl

By Calvin Palmer

London has launched an ambitious bid to stage the Super Bowl within the next eight years, according to reports.

The NFL has already staged two regular-season games at Wembley Stadium, with a third scheduled for this October, and now plans are afoot for London to land American football’s most important event, the showpiece final.

“We are looking at 2014, 2015 or 2017,” said David Hornby, the commercial director for Visit London.

An unnamed NFL spokesman is also quoted as saying: “The suggestions about London are only theoretical. There is no bid document.”

But the commercial director of Wembley Stadium, Jonathan Gregory, insists everything is being done to bring the Super Bowl to the capital.

“We will do everything we can to work with the NFL and help bring this amazing event to London,” he said.

Before the fat cats start rubbing their hands at the prospect of £350 million ($521 million) being up for grabs, they should probably consider two important factors – the weather and the fans.

The Super Bowl is traditionally held in February, a time of the year when London is not renowned for temperatures in the 70s.

It must have escaped the attention of London officials that the Super Bowl is usually held in either Florida or California.

On the few occasions it has ventured north, it has been to indoor arenas. Wembley stadium’s roof does not cover the playing surface.

When the new Dallas Cowboys stadium hosts the Super Bowl in 2011, if the weather proves inclement the stadium’s retractable roof can be closed.

The fans of the two teams who reached a Super Bowl staged in London would hardly relish the prospect of traveling to the UK. I doubt the State Department could issue sufficient passports in time for those fans who may want to travel.

I would not imagine Chelsea and Everton fans wishing to break tradition and traveling to the United States to see their teams compete in this year’s FA Cup Final. The privileged would no doubt be delighted to make the trip but what of the ordinary fans?

Super Bowl Sunday is also something of an American institution, when people invite friends round to have a few beers and watch the game on TV.

Given the time difference between the United States and the UK, the game would have to start at midnight in London in order for the East Coast TV audience to view it at peak-viewing time.

I think these people in London need to take a time-out and think again.

[Based on a report in The Guardian.]

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