The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints, will now host the NFL’s Super Bowl in 2025, a year later than planned to avoid a conflict with Mardi Gras celebrations, while the league has detailed plans to rework the 2021 Pro Bowl amid COVID-19.
In April, questions were raised over whether the Superdome could lose hosting rights to Super Bowl LVII due to a clash with New Orleans’ iconic Mardi Gras celebrations. The stadium was awarded rights to the 2024 edition of the event back in May 2018 but an agreement has now been reached for the city to stage the 2025 game instead.
The NFL’s original agreement with the Saints and The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation was contingent upon the hosting availability for a specific date due to a Mardi Gras conflict. At the time of New Orleans’ bid, the league and the city agreed to work to award New Orleans the next available Super Bowl in the event of a shift to a 17-game season, which, in line with the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, will be in effect during the 2023 season.
The move to reallocate New Orleans hosting rights for the 2025 event was approved yesterday (Wednesday) by the NFL’s 32 clubs during a virtual league meeting. The new host of the 2024 Super Bowl will be announced at a later date.
Jay Cicero, president and chief executive of the Sports Foundation, said: “This isn’t our first at bat when it comes to contingency planning. The Super Bowl Host Committee, led by the Sports Foundation and the New Orleans Saints, anticipated this possible scenario during the original bid, and we made sure to guarantee that New Orleans would not lose the event altogether if the scenario played out.”
The Saints are currently seeking a new naming-rights partner for the Superdome after it was confirmed in May that Mercedes-Benz would not be extending its deal when it expires next year. Last month, the Saints appointed Oak View Group to sell naming rights to the stadium, which is undergoing extensive renovation work ahead of hosting the Super Bowl.
In other news, the NFL has announced that the 2021 Pro Bowl game will be replaced by a range of “engaging activities” as the league focuses on completing its full regular season campaign amid the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders, had been due to host the game in 2021 but will now do so in 2022. Instead of the game, a virtual recognition of the NFL’s best players will be held.
Fans will still be able to select rosters for the Pro Bowl, with these votes to count equally with votes from players and coaches to determine the 88 players. The NFL did not reveal specific details of the activities planned.
Allegiant Stadium was awarded hosting rights to the Pro Bowl back in June. The NFL’s all-star game has been staged at Camping World Stadium in Orlando since 2017 and is usually held in the week before the Super Bowl, which next year will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.