The NFL has voted to move the 2021 Super Bowl from Los Angeles to Tampa during the league’s spring meeting last Tuesday.
The vote to move the event is in relation to construction delays that have recently pushed back the Los Angeles Rams’ 2.6 billion dollar stadium’s grand opening from 2019 to 2020. Developers involved with the project cite the record rainfall in the Southern California area as its reason for the construction delays.
The city of New Orleans was considered as a potential backup option, but not ultimately chosen because of scheduling conflicts involving Mardi Gras as well as a national convention that year. Jay Cicero, CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, which plays a large role in helping the bid for Super Bowls on the city's behalf says, "The Saints and Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation always have it on the top of our priority list. However, the same major convention conflicts that prevented us from originally bidding on the 2021 Super Bowl during the last bid cycle remain confirmed."
League officials say that this situation with Los Angeles and Tampa may be the beginning of a change in the bid process, a process that involves inviting cities to compete for the games through lucrative and complex bid packages. According to sources, one option being considered is awarding games to cities instead. Something similar to the way College playoffs and the NCAA Final Fours are awarded. The league will also consider awarding in six-year increments instead of two to three-year increments. This would help out high tourist destinations like New Orleans, which regularly book national conventions and events years in advance.
The NFL decided to award the game to Los Angeles at last year’s spring meeting. Tampa lost the bid but made a compelling enough pitch that the owners elected not to re-open the 2021 bid process. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "(Tampa) had a very competitive presentation that was made on a Super Bowl earlier, and so this was a solution that the membership got around very quickly." The change Tuesday came so unexpectedly that no members of the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., media corps were present at the league meetings when the final vote to make the switch was made.
Los Angeles, however, isn’t at a total loss and will now host the 2022 Super Bowl, assuming L.A. meets league criteria in the next three months. The NFL has yet to decide when it will award bids on Super Bowls beyond 2022. New Orleans will not be able to bid on getting the Super Bowl back in the Big Easy till 2024 due to conflicts involving an already scheduled national convention and the NCAA Men's Final Four.