The Golden Gate City did have to deal with its share of social issues and related controversy. It was reported that there was a mass movement of the homeless population away from major visitor areas during the Super Bowl. There were also media reports highlighting the wide gaps in economic prosperity.
In the end, however, the San Francisco Bay Area had a lot to be proud of in hosting Super Bowl 50. The city of San Francisco was the focal point, but communities like Oakland, San Jose and Santa Clara, the site of Levi’s Stadium, all played integral roles in the success of the activities. I am reminded of the multiple municipalities our region has that are all playing roles when it's our turn to host in 2018.
San Francisco's Host Committee brought the 50th anniversary to life by adopting gold as the color of choice for signage, volunteer uniforms and even the confetti on the field once the game was over. And the Golden Gate Bridge was the flagship icon it has always been. Their golden theme permeated all they did.
In San Francisco's hand off to Houston, a familiar theme for the next Super Bowl emerged as Houston highlighted its space exploration roots. Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center, from which many manned space flights were monitored once liftoff occurred in Florida. NASA veteran Commander Scott Kelly, via video, declared, "Houston, we have kickoff," to punctuate that theme. So no doubt the space theme will be woven into all we hear and ultimately see in Houston.
But Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Maureen Bausch and the Minnesota crew that joined her were not in San Francisco during the events were not there to replicate what we saw. Instead, we were interested in making Super Bowl LII our own. Both San Fransisco and the Minneapolis area have strengths that make each destination desirable. The weather at game time in San Fransisco was about 65 degrees and was actually warm enough to peel off a layer of clothes. Even with the advance of global warming, I'm not sure that such a climatological shift will occur for us over the next 24 months.
However, Levi’s Stadium was more than 40 miles away from the city and although it was very nice, there were limited fan activities there except for game day. And of course it is the compact urban experience that we have in downtown Minneapolis that helped us to convince the NFL to entrust us with their most precious commodity. Hotels, venues and of course U.S. Bank Stadium are all within our downtown core. San Francisco had a great venue for the NFL Experience in their Moscone Center, while we have an outstanding place for that event in our Minneapolis Convention Center.
There are a number of other ways to compare and contrast our area with San Francisco. But we know that it is not apples to apples. So a year from now, we will be on the clock with just a short year before it’s our turn to host. And just as we embraced the vibrancy of our winters and our high-energy urban experience when we made our bid to NFL in 2014, we now have the opportunity and the responsibility to bring that to life for our visitors in 2018. With the Vikings in the big game, of course.