Silicon Valley's tech heavyweights are joining forces with the 49ers to "make football even better" while Bay Area celebrities are pitching elegant dinners and huge events for what they promise will be "the biggest, most memorable Super Bowl ever."
The Bay Area's final bid to host the 50th Super Bowl in 2016 at the 49ers' new Santa Clara stadium landed on the desk of the NFL's 32 owners Wednesday, packaged in one of Silicon Valley's most celebrated inventions: an iPad.
When league owners open the sleek, white box, a magnetic sensor launches a pre-loaded video on their brand-new tablet: "We're excited to show you what the Bay Area has to offer," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee says on the screen.
The Bay Area bid committee provided this newspaper an exclusive look at the plans Wednesday: They've promised tee times for golf at iconic Pebble Beach; a private dinner for NFL owners with local celebrity chef Thomas Keller of the renowned French Laundry; more than 25,000 hotel rooms already set aside; and the massive Moscone Center in San Francisco booked for the league's interactive theme park called NFL Experience.
What's more, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has committed to leading what could be an unprecedented partnership among Silicon Valley megacompanies, dropping names like Apple and Yahoo, in proclaiming his mission to mark the game's 50th anniversary with new, undisclosed technology to create "the most innovative Super Bowl ever."
"How will it (football) be even better?" Schmidt teases in the video, saying local tech companies "are finally capable of doing this thing together." Google declined to comment further.
NFL owners will pick between Santa Clara and Miami for the Super Bowl hosting rights on May 21, but South Florida's bid has stumbled in recent weeks after a failed stadium renovation attempt, making the Bay Area the clear front-runner. Both regions had until Wednesday to submit their final proposals, which run in excess of 200 pages.
Gov. Jerry Brown, local Congress members and dozens of other dignitaries signed on to the Bay Area bid package in letters featured on the 32 iPads. League owners can scroll through custom marketing videos of Schmidt, 49ers legend Steve Young, Lee, ex-Niners coach George Seifert, 49ers CEO Jed York, Niners President Gideon Yu and others who tout the proposal in front of the stadium and other Bay Area landmarks.
Main Street for the Super Bowl will be along the Embarcadero on San Francisco's waterfront with NFL-themed décor, street signs and lit-up buildings. A pre-game tailgate and Media Day will take place in and around the Santa Clara stadium. Facilities ranging from the Fox Theater in Oakland to the Santa Clara Convention Center are on standby for possible events. The annual NFL Honors event, at a location yet to be determined, will be held the night before the game, when the league names its MVP, top coach and other accolades.
"I feel great about our bid to host the Super Bowl," said 49ers CEO Jed York, whose family would host the league's fellow owners during the Keller event.
The plan proposes to add up to 5,000 temporary seats to the stadium, which will seat 68,500 when it opens in summer 2014.
While the bid touts the Bay Area's philanthropy and tech prowess, the bulk of the proposal centers around the new Levi's Stadium.
"We think the stadium was the missing piece, and we have that now," said San Francisco philanthropist Daniel Lurie, chair of the Bay Area Super Bowl Bid Committee.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.