Bringing the 50th Super Bowl to the 50th state would be costly
SOME dare to dream a super-sized dream for a refurbished Aloha Stadium or a shiny new coliseum somewhere on Oahu.
Hint: It involves football and a Roman numeral.
Oh, and lots of money.
How Suite It Is
An Aloha Stadium planning survey proposes the following enhancements:
» Dugout suites, $350,000
» Main-concourse party decks (4), $7.1 million
» Lower-bowl 50-yard-line suites (12), $1.75 million
» Sideline club lounge, amenities, $4 million
» Sideline club loge box-seat conversion, $4.6 million
» South end-zone super suite, $325,000
» Loge-level clubs, upper-concourse deck, $14 million
» Loge-level corner, sideline clubs, $18 million
» Upper-concourse corner suites, $4.25 million
» Upper-tier bow-tower suite addition, $9 million
The 14 cities that have hosted the 40 Super Bowls were all within a few miles of NFL franchises
Atlanta: 1994, 2000
Houston: 1974, 2004
Jacksonville, Fla.: 2005
Los Angeles: 1967, 1973
Miami: 1968, 1969, 1971, 1976, 1979, 1989, 1995, 1999
New Orleans: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, 2002
Pasadena, Calif.: 1977, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1993
Pontiac, Mich.: 1982
San Diego: 1988, 1998, 2003
Stanford, Calif.: 1985
Tampa, Fla.: 1984, 1991, 2001
Tempe, Ariz.: 1996
Hawaii might make a bid for the 2016 Super Bowl. That's Super Bowl L, as in Longshot.
Even some of those who say it's possible laugh when the S.B. words are uttered. Nobody wants to be thought of as crazy.
Kevin Chong Kee, chairman of the Aloha Stadium authority, let loose a hearty chuckle when the subject was broached after last week's authority meeting. Then he donned his dreamer hat and went to work.
"We've been asked (by the legislature) what our vision is, what we want to do 10 years down the road. It's just something we pointed out, hosting the Super Bowl," Chong Kee said. "If we have the renovations we're asking for, OK, let's market it. It's far-ahead planning, something we can do to use the stadium as a revenue generator."
For the immediate future, it looks like the stadium might be an expense generator.
The stadium authority is asking for $129 million from the state to renovate and enhance the 31-year-old facility. If that happens, the stadium can be used another 20 to 30 years, according to a planning study. And enhancements including luxury suites and expanded capacity could make the stadium a Super Bowl-worthy site, supporters say.
Chong Kee discussed the possibility of a 2016 Super Bowl bid with NFL officials when they were in town for the Pro Bowl in February. He wasn't laughed at, at least to his face.
"Part of what the NFL is about is entertaining new ideas," league spokesman Michael Signora said in a phone interview Friday. "The NFL has a partnership with Hawaii through the Pro Bowl, and we constantly see people in Hawaii demonstrate their support. Every game (since 1980) has been a sellout.
"With that being said, it's extremely competitive for cities wanting opportunities to host the Super Bowl, and it's never been held in a city without an NFL franchise. But a Super Bowl in Hawaii cannot be ruled out."
Another person close to the NFL said he has had discussions with owners and key league officials who have agreed to play a Super Bowl in Hawaii -- if a new stadium is built or Aloha Stadium is adequately refurbished.
"It's not a maybe. If there's a commitment to it in Hawaii, it will happen," said the source, who requested anonymity. "As for money, revenues would be worth $500 million to $1 billion for the state."
But even with the enhancements, it is questionable that Aloha Stadium could support enough additional seats for a Super Bowl crowd. Current capacity is 50,000. The Super Bowl requires room for 75,000 spectators, Signora said, but state comptroller Russ Saito said other NFL officials said that number could be lower.
"We haven't calculated exactly how many seats we can add," said Saito, who is awaiting more information from planners. "75,000 might be a stretch."
University of Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier helped host Super Bowl XXX at Sun Devil Stadium when he was associate athletic director at Arizona State.
"No," the usually loquacious Frazier said when asked if he thought Hawaii could someday host the big game.
"You can see the problems," was all he would add when asked to elaborate.
A new stadium would cost around $300 million and take seven years from go-ahead to first kickoff, and Saito said the Aloha Stadium makeover is much more feasible -- about $150 million more feasible.
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he won't rule out a Super Sunday a decade down the road.
"The first baby step is to show the NFL we're capable of hosting another event, such as a preseason game. If we demonstrate we can host such an event, it will build a core of support," he said.
San Diego Chargers exec Jim Steeg -- formerly the NFL's vice president in charge of the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl -- is still working on a preseason game in Hawaii.
A preseason game would just be a good warm-up for the Super Bowl when it comes to logistics and financing.
"You have to put in major public and/or private dollars," Hannemann said. "I don't think the Hawaii Tourism Authority can do it alone. You need a marketing strategy including corporate sponsors."
Detroit enjoyed a $274 million overall economic impact from hosting Super Bowl XL two months ago, according to a study by a research firm.
The 2006 Pro Bowl made a $33.6 million impact on Hawaii, according to the HTA.
Stadium authority member Marcia Klompus said hosting the Super Bowl would be great, but the proposed renovations will also help attract other revenue-producing games, concerts and other activities.
"Of course, having the Super Bowl would be the ace of spades," said the former owner of the Aloha and Hula Bowls. "But if we fix the stadium we can host lots of other great events for the state."
Whether Super Bowl dreams get anywhere close to reality remains to be seen. But Chong Kee and others warned the legislature last week of the reality: If money isn't pumped into the stadium, there won't be a facility worthy of hosting anything.
"We have to have something to sell," Chong Kee said. "If there's nothing to sell, what can we do?"