Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said civic officials should lead the charge in trying to win a Super Bowl bid and that the NFL team should have little involvement in the process.
Edgar Colon, chairman of the Harris County Sports Convention Corp. said the county and Reliant Park are planning on bidding for Super Bowl LI in 2017. The City of Houston has hosted the Super Bowl before in 2004.
“That’s fine,” McNair said Thursday. “It’s really a city effort, and it’s a big effort, so I’m glad there are some people interested in jumping in there and getting something started.”
One obstacle in Bob McNair’s mind is that Houston isn’t viewed as a tourist destination. Something that is usually considered when picking a city to host the Super Bowl.
“When people start thinking about, ‘Where am I going to go on vacation this year?’ they don’t typically think about Houston,” McNair said. “We need to change that image. That’s part of it.’ “
Edgar Colon says Bob McNair’s and the Texans can do their part by winning. The Texans had a very successful season in 2011 winning their division and advancing to the playoffs and are viewed by many as a favorite to win the AFC in 2012.
“The better we do,” he said, “the more favorably people will look upon Houston.”
One of the disputes between McNair and Colon is the allocation of resources and how they might help the city with their bid for a Super Bowl. Colon met recently with consultants who recommended investing heavily in renovating the unused Astrodome and transforming it into a multipurpose facility. They recommended a $385 million dollar project that included a 10,000 seat arena and a exhibition area with a 2,500-3000 seat parking garage.
“Certainly, something needs to be done with the Astrodome,” McNair said. “It’s just gone downhill. That’s fine. I’m glad the commissioners will be looking at it. If they deem it the right thing to do and want to submit something to the voters for them to make a determination, that’s fine.”
To be honest, I did not even know the Astrodome was still standing. McNair though wishes more funding was directed towards Reliant Stadium and their renovation needs. He says $2.5 million is reserved annually for renovations and repairs at Reliant Stadium and he’d like to see that figure increased to $8-9 million. Reliant Stadium hosts large events to benefit the city as a whole besides just Texans games. Most recently they hosted the 2011 Final Four and will host the Final Four again in 2016. As well, they host the largest events for the city’s massive annual livestock and rodeo.
“Our first concern is Reliant Stadium, and we want to make sure we have adequate funds for repairs and replacement and improvements,” McNair said. “Right now, we don’t have adequate funds, so I’d like to see that taken care of first.”
So that brings up the question: who is responsible for Super Bowl bids?
You’d have to think that while it is a joint effort between city and team that the burden is on the city. The city is the one that really stands to benefit by hosting a Super Bowl. It’s the additional money in hotel’s and restaurants as well as local retail stores that is the prize of hosting a Super Bowl, not to mention the publicity and advertising it brings to the city that can take the opportunity to highlight the positive aspects of the city.