Mayor Jennifer Roberts, in town to support her hometown Carolina Panthers, said Saturday it is time for Charlotte to renew its conversation about hosting a Super Bowl.
Key to making a bid for the NFL title game would be finding a way to raise millions in corporate support and ensuring the number of hotel rooms that the league would require.
Already Charlotte is planning to bid to host the college football championship, the NBA All-Star Game and possibly the 2020 Republican National Convention.
New hotels proposed and under construction would add about 2,250 rooms uptown and in surrounding neighborhoods, increasing the hotel room supply by 42 percent.
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“It is not outside the realm of possibility to bid on the Super Bowl in 2020 or 2025,” Roberts said at a waterfront rally for the Panthers.
Roberts met Friday with San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee, Denver mayor Michael Hancock and Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to talk about how the Bay area organized its preparation for the Super Bowl. Houston will host the next game in 2017.
Corporate sponsors, led by Levi’s which holds naming rights to the stadium in Santa Clara where Sunday’s game will be held, raised $50 million to help cover costs for Super Bowl 50. A fourth of that is earmarked for Bay area non-profits, said Kathryn Glickman of the host committee.
About a million visitors, including many local residents, are expected to attend festivities at the Super Bowl City entertainment venue on the waterfront and the nearby NFL Fan Experience expo, Glickman said.
DNC demonstrated potential, Tillis says
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who ran into Roberts at the rally site, said he thinks Charlotte could pull off a Super Bowl.
“Look at what they did for the Democratic National Convention,” he said. “I wouldn’t put anything past Charlotte. They’ve proved they can do big things.”
Tillis dabbed with Gov. Pat McCrory, who also attended the rally.
Later Saturday, Roberts toured the construction site for San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center, set to open in 2017.
Like Charlotte’s more modest Gateway Station plan that would connect a new Amtrak station to buses and the streetcar line, the new Transbay Center will bring together Amtrak, the city’s subway line, Caltrain and other key transportation systems.
Sees benefits to making trip
Roberts, wearing a Cam Newton No. 1 jersey, said she thought her trip to San Francisco, which cost the city of Charlotte an estimated $5,100, was a good investment.
She said she has been helping market the city in public and media appearances and it was important for Charlotte’s mayor to be represented at Super Bowl events.
Tillis was wearing a Panthers shirt that he said he only laundered once this season. After he washed, it the team posted its only season loss to Atlanta, so it’s not going back in the wash until after Sunday’s game, he said.
Tillis is also wearing a beard he started growing when the Panthers began their post-season run. That, too won’t be groomed until after Sunday.