Bank of America Stadium had the size needed, but it's how the City can handle the crowds that will determine if Charlotte can host a Superbowl. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
There's one simple goal in a city hosting the Superbowl- Don't be Jacksonville. It's not that the North Florida City wasn't glamorous enough for the event, but the vital infrastructure needed to support the game wasn't there, and ultimately it led to the NFL's biggest weekend being marred with transportation issues, mediocre hotel support and poor planning.
Like the Olympics, every four years the bid to host the Superbowl has become a serious business. Having a huge influx of fans, media and broadcasters boosts local hotels, restaurants and bars, becoming a huge punch in the arm for local businesses- especially in a downturned economy.
In discussing the Democratic National Convention in relation to the Superbowl your politics are inconsequential. There's no denying that this will be a huge event occurring in early September in Uptown Charlotte, and will be the biggest stress test for the city's infrastructure in a long time. Should the city handle the event well it could really bolster a bid for Bank of America Stadium to host a future Superbowl, and with the host city being announced at the Fall owner's meeting in mid-October, there's no better time for Charlotte to be fresh in the mind of decision makers.
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Recent history has had the game being played in a dome, but with the NFL willing to play the game outdoors in New York for 2014 there seems to be an openness to playing outside. Early February in the Carolinas can always be a little dicey weather-wise, but this is far more about whether the city can handle it from a lodging/dining aspect, rather than a meteorological one.
This discussion is important to fans for several reasons. As a city Charlotte sometimes struggles attracting athletes looking for premiere nightlife, or who have predisposed misconception about what the city is like. Ultimately we seen players arrive to the area, spend some time here and then talk about how much they love the area, but it's a hard sell to those in other markets. Hosting a Superbowl is a great way to showcase Charlotte, and present it as the modern, metropolitan, forward-thinking city it has become.
Then there's the completely selfish reason of wanting to see the Panthers win the game at home. Yes, it could be a little premature, but there's little doubt Carolina will be in the picture sooner, rather than later. It's not outside the realm of possibility that by 2016 or 2017 could be deeply ensconced within a Superbowl run, provided the front office keeps making solid moves. I can't think of anything better for a sports fan than getting to see their NFL team win a Superbowl ring at their home stadium- it would be utterly amazing.
For now these are all pie-in-the-sky dreams. First Charlotte needs to handle the DNC well, and then we can fantasize about Cam hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in BoA Stadium. Please, City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County- don't screw this up.