The National Football League awarded the 2021 Super Bowl to Los Angeles to be played at the new stadium being built for the Rams without taxpayers’ money. The last clause was the key to getting a team in L.A. because Los Angeles residents resisted offering taxpayers money to build a stadium.
San Diego is in the midst of a battle to keep the Chargers and public funds for a new stadium is part of the debate. In Oakland, the lack of resolve to improve the Raiders home field probably pushes the team to Las Vegas.
The NFL tried mightily to convince L.A. officials, and through the city’s political leaders, the voters to pay for a stadium. The league wanted to keep up a strategy of billionaire owners coercing local taxpayers for the privilege of having teams remain in town. It didn’t have to be that way and Los Angeles’ stubbornness paid off. The reason, of course, is that the NFL needed Los Angeles, the country’s second biggest market, more than the city needed a professional football team.
Now one of the biggest shows in the country is heading back to Los Angeles. The area has hosted seven Super Bowls but none since both the Raiders and Rams left Southern California 22 years ago.
California’s tourist industry is a mainstay of the California economy so the return of the Super Bowl to Los Angeles will boost those positive economic numbers. Santa Clara and the Bay Area reported positive financial gains from hosting the last Super Bowl, although there have been mixed reports over the years about the financial impacts of hosting the big event.
For some communities, the positive is the spotlight such an event puts on the area. With Los Angeles’ many attractions it should be a big draw and a financial win for the area.
I attended one Super Bowl in 1983. The game was between the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The night before the game I got a call from my friend Hal Dash, now CEO of Cerrell & Associates. He had an extra ticket to the big game. One of Cerrell’s clients was a game sponsor.
Perhaps, the most memorable event occurred before the game at an office building within walking distance to the Rose Bowl. The Cerrell company hosted a pre-game party. Attending the party—and here comes the political connection—was Maureen Reagan, daughter of then president Ronald Reagan. While we played a touch football game in the building’s parking lot, Secret Service agents stood around the perimeter of the field marking the end zones.
The ticket was in the first row at the goal line. Great for goal line stands but tough to see the other end of the field. I missed the long touchdown run at the far end of the field by game MVP John Riggins as Washington won 27-17.
Maybe I can go back again now that the big game will return to L.A. – if someone gives me a ticket.