Santa Clara, Calif.
Having an economy propped up by
and an unemployment rate that sank from nearly 9.5% last year to 7.8% is already enough to make other towns jealous.
Add an NFL stadium and a franchise or two to that mix and 2013 may be the year that boosts Santa Clara to the next level. The San Francisco 49ers broke ground on their stadium in Santa Clara last year and already began offering season ticket holders at Candlestick Park first crack at seats in the facility.
This year, however, the NFL is expected to announce whether the new Santa Clara Stadium or Sun Life Stadium in Miami will get to host Super Bowl L in 2016. The Miami Dolphins ownership and Miami city officials are already looking for public money to spruce up their stadium, but taxpayers may be loath to pay out after just buying a new ballpark for the Miami Marlins only to watch owners completely dismantle the team.
If the 2016 Super Bowl somehow escapes Santa Clara's grasp, it goes automatically into contention for Super Bowl LI the next year. The 49ers should also find out this year whether the Oakland Raiders will be joining them in their new home. The Raiders' lease on
Coliseum expires after this year, and while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell supports a sharing agreement similar to what the New York Giants and Jets have in New Jersey, Raiders owner Mark Davis has been reluctant to move the team.
A lot has to fall Santa Clara's way for it to have a big 2013, but it's tough to bet against the town when there's so much working in its favor.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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