The San Francisco/Bay Area region hit the jackpot Tuesday afternoon, as they were voted the host site for Super Bowl 50. Opponents aside, this will be the biggest Super Bowl until Super Bowl 100, which makes for pretty sweet recognition for the region.
Throughout this process, Jed York and Super Bowl committee chairman Daniel Lurie have emphasized the importance of regional support. In recent press conferences, the committee has involved a variety of mayors including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Santa Clara Mayor Matthews and San Jose Mayor Reed. The bid included events in San Francisco, Santa Clara, as well as locations reserved in Oakland and along the Peninsula. The NFL Experience will take place along the Embarcadero to the Moscone Center. The game and media day will take place in Santa Clara at the 49ers stadium. NFL owners will get tee times at Pebble Beach and visit wineries in Napa. All in all, it's all about the region as a whole.
After the Bay Area was announced as the host site, York and Lurie emphasized how important it was that they got support from across the region. I asked two members of the bid committee about the interaction between the mayors and they were pleased with how it worked out. Lurie had expected that to be a potential obstacle, but it ended up being no problem at all.
This is not particularly surprising given that Ed Lee took office after the 49ers had already figured out their plans for Santa Clara. And with San Francisco likely getting the lion's share of the revenue, I imagine they were more than willing to do whatever was necessary to make this a success.
This all got me thinking about where the 49ers are headed in the region. The Raiders have a vocal fan base, but with the 49ers moving down to Santa Clara while likely retaining most if not all of their San Francisco support, they are making strides toward taking over the Bay Area. They had South Bay fans already, but the move down could help boost that fan base even further.
This reminds me to some extent what the Giants have been doing. Obviously, the Giants remain in San Francisco, but multiple factors have helped them become a regional giant (pun really not intended!). They have had great success on the field in recent years, they hold South Bay television rights and the Oakland A's own stadium and attendance struggles have created more of a void for the more bandwagon type of Bay area fans.
The Oakland Raiders are not nearly at the level of the Oakland A's, and I think they can remain sufficiently popular, but the 49ers are now in a position to take over the bandwagon fans. They could eventually lose these kinds of fans, but the Super Bowl, the new stadium and the team's success and strong football/business model seems to be putting them in a position to climb even further up the ladder. They are back in the hearts of some of the more fickle fans, but the stars are aligning to become a truly dominant presence in the NFL beyond just the on-field product.