HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Eleven years after Reliant Stadium opened its doors for the first time, it wins its bid for a second Super Bowl game. Houston was awarded the 2017 Super Bowl on Tuesday in a highly anticipated vote during the NFL owners’ spring meeting. Team owners voted for Super Bowls L and LI (50 and 51, respectively) and awarded both San Francisco and Houston an NFL championship game. San Francisco edged out Miami for Super Bowl 50 in 2016 with its plans for a new stadium. Owners then voted on a home for Super Bowl 51 between Miami and Houston and awarded the Bayou City its third Super Bowl in history. Neither city had to wait long as the vote was official after only one ballot, meaning each received three-fourths of owners’ votes. If a three-fourths majority was not reached in a first ballot, the owners would have needed to vote in a second ballot where 17 votes would have named a winner. This is the first time in ten years that a second ballot was not required.
San Francisco was a favorite for Super Bowl 50 with its plans for the $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium, set to open in 2014. Miami was a front runner for Super Bowl 51 until the Dolphins were unable to get legislative approval for public funding for stadium improvements. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had requested $350 million for renovations to Sun Life Stadium, which opened in 1987, The South Florida site has been a favorite destination for the NFL championship game, having hosted ten Super Bowls. Without making upgrades to the 26-year old stadium, Miami was unable to secure either Super Bowl 50 or 51, giving Houston an added advantage.
The Houston Texans have been updating their eleven-year old stadium, installing two new video screens with one in each endzone. The screens, measuring 53 feet high and 277 feet wide, will edge out Dallas for the largest in the NFL. Reliant’s new screens will be 30% larger than those in Cowboys Stadium and will be in place for the start of the 2013 season. Officials were hopeful that the screens would not only enhance game day experience for fans, but would help lure another Super Bowl to Houston.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am for Houston in being selected as the site for the 2017 Super Bowl,” says Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. “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.”
The 51st Super Bowl marks the second time Reliant Stadium hosts the big game in its history. In 2004 Houston hosted Super Bowl 38 in Reliant Stadium, when the Patriots defeated the Panthers 32-29 with a 41-yard field goal by Adam Viniateri with four seconds remaining. Tom Brady won his second championship in three seasons and was named MVP. The thrilling Super Bowl was only eclipsed by the controversial halftime show, when Janet Jackson had her infamous wardrobe malfunction during a performance with Justin Timberlake. Super Bowl VIII was played in Rice Stadium between the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins in 1974.
The Houston Super Bowl Bid Committee was led by Chairman Ric Campo. Campo, along with NRG Energy CEO David Crane, made a formal presentation to the NFL owners before Tuesday’s vote.
“We’ve accomplished what we set out to do,” said Campo in a team statement. “Thanks to the support and efforts of Mayor Parker, Judge 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.”
Details of the 10-day festival, to be called “Super Bowl El Centro”, and other plans will be revealed in a press conference on Wednesday in Houston.