NFL owners impressed with innovation of Bay Area bid
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BOSTON -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft broke out in a huge smile when asked about a package he received recently from the Bay Area Super Bowl bid committee.

"You mean this?" he asked, producing an iPad Mini from under his arm that was delivered to each of the NFL owners as part of the Bay Area's bid proposal.

"That was terrific," Kraft said.

The Super Bowl will return to the Bay Area in February 2016. NFL owners selected Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, home of the 49ers beginning in 2014, as the site for Super Bowl L.

[NEWS: Super Bowl L coming to the Bay Area]

The only other time the game was staged in the Bay Area was 1985. Super Bowl XIX was played at Stanford Stadium, a venue in which splintering wooden bleachers were covered with more than 84,000 seat cushions emblazoned with the Apple logo.

This time, the Bay Area will have a gleaming two-year-old stadium. And the entire Super Bowl pitch was submitted recently to NFL owners on an iPad Mini that automatically played its convincing argument.

"We innovated beyond anything they've seen before," said Daniel Lurie, head of the Super Bowl bid committee.

The Bay Area was awarded the 1999 Super Bowl on the condition that Candlestick Park would receive $30 million in upgrades. It never happened, and the Bay Area was not considered for another Super Bowl until groundbreaking began in April 2012 on the $1.2 billion, 68,500-seat stadium in Santa Clara.

"There were people in there who looked at the quality of the stadium," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "They spent a great deal of time talking about that. They talked about it being an important part of our country right now, where so much innovation is coming out with technology.

"There are so many great young companies, and companies that are changing the world and want to be part of this game. And I think that was very attractive to the owners."

The Bay Area bid was matched against South Florida, which has hosted 10 Super Bowls. But the South Florida bid was dealt a crippling blow with a failed attempt at renovations at Sun Life Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area finally has a stadium -- albeit a little over 50 percent completed -- that it can tout.

In February 2012, NFL owners approved a $200 million loan to help fund construction of the Santa Clara stadium. That was a point Lurie emphasized during a 15-minute presentation to owners.

"It was important for us to thank them because their loan of $200 million enabled the stadium to get built," said committee member Joe D'Alessandro, who also spoke in front of the owners.

"If this stadium weren't built, we would not be here today celebrating the fact that we're going to have the 50th Super Bowl in the Bay Area. So it was important for us to acknowledge that."

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Levi's Stadium, which will serve as the 49ers' home beginning in 2014, will be able to provide wireless connections for the 75,000 fans expected to attend Super Bowl L. There will be a green room and solar panels that will provide all the power needed for games.

"It's an innovative stadium," Kraft said. "Personally, I love San Francisco. It's like Boston. It's like a European city. I love being there. I think it's really classy. I think what the Yorks have done is super."

Co-chair John York exited the room after the vote and expressed his excitement after the owners' vote made it official. Team CEO Jed York credited the entire region for banding together for an impressive bid.

"It's awesome," Jed York said. "I'm very thankful the NFL saw that the Bay Area can come through for them, especially with a huge game like Super Bowl L. And none of that happens without the entire community coming together the way Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Jose have done."

Former San Francisco Giants executive Pat Gallagher, the chair of development for the committee, was responsible for raising $30 million for the bid in advance of the presentation.

"We thought we raised enough money to go to the NFL and prove we had the local support," Gallagher said. "We're not finished. We have a long way to go."

Twenty-five percent of the money raised for the Super Bowl will be targeted for youth and local charities. A separate nonprofit organization will be launched to determine where the money goes.

With the Super Bowl secured, now the work shifts into a different gear with 33 months of work before Super Bowl L comes to the Bay Area. And that work begins on Wednesday. The committee has a 90-page plan in place to serve as a roadmap after the successful bid.

"And now it's just taking that excitement and enthusiasm and channeling it into a functioning day-to-day approach to make sure everything goes off perfectly," Jed York said.