L.A.'s 2nd-chance bid was simply super

April 14, 1991|By Bob Oates | Bob Oates,Los Angeles Times

On the night that the National Football League voted i Hawaii last month to move the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix to Pasadena, Calif., David Simon, president of the Los Angeles Sports Council, remembered two old newspaper headlines:



The first was on the Chicago Tribune's front page in 1948, when the newspaper made an erroneous early edition guess that the favorite, Thomas E. Dewey, would wrest the presidency from Harry S Truman.

The other headline was composed during the NFL convention a year ago in Orlando, Fla., where Phoenix routed the combined California forces of Los Angeles, Pasadena and Anaheim on the fifth ballot.

Or so it had seemed.

At stake that day in Florida was Super Bowl XXVII, which, assuming Arizona would approve a paid holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., was destined for Phoenix.

"We know now how Harry Truman felt in 1948 when the early results came in," said Simon, who coordinated the four-year effort to bring professional football's championship game to the Rose Bowl Jan. 31, 1993.

"We thought we'd lost to Phoenix fair and square," he said.

After the Arizona elections, Simon said, "it surprised us to get a second chance, [but] when we did, we determined to make the most of it."

Making the most of any Super Bowl chance today is a costly enterprise.

The last time the game was at the Rose Bowl, in 1987, the NFL spent about $4 million to put on Super Bowl XXI.

In 1993, it will receive that much simply for putting Super Bowl XXVII there.

During their Hawaii meetings, NFL teams and their owners were promised $4 million worth of services and goods, cost-free, by the Los Angeles-area bidding committee, which represented the three communities that wanted the game -- Pasadena, Anaheim and Los Angeles -- but could no longer get it, they found, without a combined effort.

The $8 million swing reflects the steadily increasing economic value of the Super Bowl and the eagerness with which cities the size of Tampa, Fla., and Minneapolis have been bidding for it lately with local funds.

In 1988, for example, after spending $3 million to $4 million, the San Diego area got back an estimated $150 million from Super Bowl XXII spenders. And when Super Bowl XXVI is played in Minneapolis next January, Twin Cities businessmen, having made a similar investment, expect to reap even more.

"We had to keep up with Minneapolis," Simon said. "We had to keep up with San Diego and Tampa. A metropolitan area like Los Angeles has two choices these days: We can match the financial bids of smaller cities for the Super Bowl or we can do without."

The NFL, as a title-game sponsor, is unique. The proprietors of professional football teams -- unlike those who own basketball, baseball or hockey teams -- rotate their title game annually among designated cities. They are solely responsible for where the Super Bowl is played, regardless of who plays in it, and they can put it anywhere on a whim.

As promoters, the 28 NFL owners have more power, in a word, than other promoters. And so they were able to command a handsome reward for choosing Pasadena in 1993.

The Los Angeles-area bidding delegation pledged to give them:

* Free chauffeured limousines, one for each owner, throughout the week leading up to the game, on the day of the game and the day after.

* Free helicopters, as many as required, if they would rather fly during the week, or on game day.

* Free buses for the media.

* Free buses for the competing teams.

* Free game-day rent at the Rose Bowl, a $1.54 million value.

* Free game-day expenses, for ushers and other help, a $225,000 value.

* Free luxury boxes at the Rose Bowl, 30 such boxes on a high rim of the stadium, containing 416 seats for the owners and their friends, to be allocated any way they wish.

* Free parking for 5,799 NFL vehicles in paved parking spaces near the stadium.

* In addition, the NFL will be given Pasadena's full share of concession revenues. Los Angeles business interests will reimburse Pasadena.

* There will also be free admission to Disneyland, Universal Studios and any other attractions the owners or their families wish to attend, as well as free visits, with guides if desired, to any museums or cultural attractions, including theaters.

* Free hotel rooms for the competing teams, their coaches and staffs.

* Free hotel rooms for the 125-person league staff.

* Free practice sites at USC and UCLA, or in neighboring Orange County, at the NFL's discretion. Some new Eastern owners have an impression that in January there might be less smog to interfere with team practice in Orange County.

* A choice of two no-cost sites for the NFL's $500,000 Friday

night party, the Sports Arena in Los Angeles or the Pasadena Convention Center, or two low-cost sites, Disneyland and Universal Studios.

* Free use of 60 hotel rooms for the NFL Players' Clinic.

* Free use of Brookside Golf Course for the NFL Charities golf tournament, which benefits owners' charities.

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