The 49ers will break ground on their new stadium on Thursday, and the team hopes that in four years the $1.02 billion facility will be the site of Super Bowl L (50). A team source said Friday that the 49ers plan to bid for that Super Bowl. If that is awarded to another city, they also will shoot for the following year's game.
The next three Super Bowls will be played in New Orleans, New Jersey and Glendale, Ariz. respectively. The next one to be awarded, Super Bowl L, will be played in February 2016. Teams are required to play two full seasons in their new venues before hosting a Super Bowl. The 49ers are increasingly confident that the yet-to-be-named stadium in Santa Clara will be ready for the start of the 2014 season.
According to the NFL, the process will begin this summer when interested cities apply to the Super Bowl Advisory Committee for an invitation to bid. The committee then decides on finalists at the owners meeting in October. A vote is expected to take place in May.
There is good reason to believe Santa Clara will get the bid. The NFL likes to place Super Bowls in new venues (see: Arlington, Texas in 2011) and the 49ers will have the shiniest and newest digs when Super Bowl L rolls around. There also would be a nice bit of symmetry. The first Super Bowl was played in California - in Los Angeles in 1967 - and one hasn't been held in the Golden State since the Raiders and Buccaneers squared off in San Diego in 2003.
The new Santa Clara stadium will hold 68,500 seats but can expand to 75,000 seats for special events. The NFL requires at least 70,000 seats for a Super Bowl. A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday.
-- Matt Barrows