The biggest lesson from the recently wrapped up Super Bowl in Phoenix may have been provided by Mother Nature, which at times made it feel like the event was being held in the rainy Pacific Northwest not the Sonoran Desert.
“A lot of their event venues didn't have tents,” said Daniel Lurie, chairman of the Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. “But they figured it out, and I think they adjusted really well. What we learned is that we have to be very adaptable.”
Lurie and his committee officially took the hand-off from Phoenix last week. The first Super Bowl in the Bay Area in 30 years will be held Feb. 7, 2016 at Levi's Stadium. And while every modern-day game has been grandiose, the NFL wants Super Bowl L to surpass them all because it is a celebration of 50 years of the event.
The Bay Area already has begun to distinguish itself, not in grandeur but in giving.
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Lurie, who also runs an antipoverty philanthropy clearinghouse called Tipping Point, pledged two years ago that 25 percent of the money raised in advance of the game would go toward environmental efforts and youth organizations in the area. The amount so far is $40 million and counting.
“We don't want this to be just about the game and just about the parties, we want this to be about the entire community coming together and lifting people up,” Lurie said.
The rest of the funds will go toward the planning and operations of events throughout Super Bowl week as well as additional seating required at Levi's Stadium.
Lurie was on site in the Phoenix area last week along with police and fire officials from San Francisco and Santa Clara, who witnessed the scale of the event that's in store for them. The group also was able to experience a Super Bowl week that was spread among downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale and Glendale, Ariz.
That served as a precedent of sorts for the Bay Area event. The game will be in Santa Clara. The bulk of the week's activities, however, will be held 45 miles north in San Francisco. The media – more than 6,000 were credentialed for the most recent game – will work out of the Moscone Center. The Fan Village, which Lurie expects could have a million visitors, also will be in San Francisco.
“It's almost become a standard now,” he said. “You're just not going to be able to get everything done in one tightly compact space. But wherever you have your centers of gravity, make them walkable and safe and make sure you can transfer people.”
Other events will be held at Pebble Beach and Sonoma. The NFL has not yet decided where to hold its sprawling Media Day event, but one of the venues it’s eying is Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Jed York, the 49ers' CEO, will host the game and was on hand in Phoenix for the official hand-off last week. But the Raiders have been involved, too. In fact, there are plans for the two teams to pool their Super Bowl trophies – eight total – and have them tour the region in the run-up to the game.
“We think the region really sells itself,” Lurie said. “We're just excited to show off what we think locally is so great.”
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.