January 31, 2014

Chiefs’ Clark Hunt confident Kansas City could pull off a cold-weather Super Bowl

When the NFL awarded the New York area the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said it would be a “game-changer.” Now, Hunt is ready for Kansas City to get in the game and bring a Super Bowl to Arrowhead Stadium.

When the NFL awarded the New York area the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said it would be a “game-changer.”

Now, Hunt is ready for Kansas City to get in the game and bring a Super Bowl to Arrowhead Stadium.

“We could absolutely pull it off,” Hunt said on Friday following NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual state of the league address. “We can put on a great Super Bowl … Arrowhead would be an unbelievable venue for it on game day.”

Earlier fears of frigid conditions and snow for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., have been allayed by forecasts of temperatures in the 40s at kickoff.

“It looks like we’re going to have great weather on Sunday, which I would think opens up the opportunity for another cold-weather Super Bowl somewhere down the road,” Hunt said.

In fact, it will likely be colder in Kansas City on Sunday than in New Jersey.

“We definitely have a strange weather pattern going on this week,” Hunt said. “A lot of the Southern cities have been colder than New York. That’s just the weather. But the league demonstrated with awarding the Super Bowl here that they were prepared to play it in the elements, and a lot of people think football is a game designed to play in the elements.”

Kansas City would be competing with several other cold-weather markets, such as Denver, Washington, D.C., New England, Philadelphia and Seattle, for outdoor Super Bowls.

“I would think there would be a lot of interest,” Hunt said. “I have heard some of the teams mentioned that are interested … so we’ll have to see. We have a great asset in Arrowhead that could play a key a key part in us getting a Super Bowl.”

Kansas City would have been the site for Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 had the measure for a $170 million rolling roof between Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums been approved in 2006 when Jackson County citizens passed the sales tax initiative that financed the renovations for the Truman Sports Complex. The tax, primarily on businesses, failed by about 4,000 votes.

The next three Super Bowls will be in Glendale, Ariz., San Francisco and Houston. The NFL owners will vote this spring on awarding Super Bowl LII in February 2018 to domed stadiums in either Indianapolis, Minneapolis or New Orleans.

So the soonest another cold-weather, outdoor stadium would be used for a Super Bowl would be 2019, and cold-weather venues would probably be chosen no more than once every three to four years.

“It’s a very long planning cycle for Super Bowls anyhow,” Hunt said, “and I wouldn’t expect the league would come back to a cold-weather market for several years at a minimum.”

Goodell said on Friday cities bidding for Super Bowls would need at least 40,000 hotel rooms, or about 10,000 more that Kansas City can offer at this time.

“That’s something the commissioner has been pretty consistent about, and in terms of Kansas City hosting a Super Bowl, the hotel rooms will be our biggest challenge,” Hunt said. “Clearly, the NFL has a set of guidelines for any Super Bowl, but in certain cases would be willing to overlook certain things. Maybe that can happen.”

Kansas City was host to a successful Major League Baseball All-Star game in 2012 and is a finalist for the 2016 Republican National Convention, both indications that it has the infrastructure to hold a Super Bowl.

“That would be very beneficial to a potential Super Bowl bid,” Hunt said. “I’m hopeful Kansas City is selected for that convention, and I’ve heard very good things about our chances.”

Another requirement to host a Super Bowl is having adequate practice facilities for the two teams. One could practice at the Chiefs’ facility, but the other would have to either trek to the University of Kansas in Lawrence or Missouri Western in St. Joseph, where the Chiefs helped build an indoor facility for their training camp.

Had the weather been inclement for this weekend, Hunt agreed that Super Bowl XLVIII might have been the first and only one played outdoors in a northern city.

“Human nature is what human nature is, and it would have made it more difficult to take the game back to a cold weather market in the future,” Hunt said. “It’s fortunate for Kansas City … and any other cold weather market that wants to bid on the Super Bowl that the weather is going to be great this week.

“This experience being positive is very important.”

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