Originally Published: May 20, 2014 2:30 p.m.
The NFL awarded the 2018 Super Bowl to Minneapolis today.
The Twin Cities literally boast (dread??) the coldest average temperature of any major metro in the U.S. February's average temperature in the Twin Cities is 28 degrees.
Buffalo may be next on the Super Bowl rotation, with the Antarctica Peninsula finalizing its bid to lobby for the 2020 game.
The big game made it through the cold-weather NY/NJ Super Bowl this past February. Minneapolis may not get as favorable odds. Still, I'm already looking forward to endless Super Bowl Week clips of Jim Marshall running the wrong way, and a heated debate about whether Prince or Bob Dylan should play halftime.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to move The Show in strange and unpredictable ways. He puts more emphasis on adding bottom-line billions than any major sports commissioner in history. The NFL hauled in $9.5 billion last year alone, and Goodell will stop at nothing - the sport itself be damned - until he reaches Google-level dough.
Don't believe me? Let's examine ways Roger Goodell would transform Major League Baseball if he took over as MLB Commish when Bud Selig steps down in January 2015:
Move the World Series to Sydney, Australia. Baseball markets get cold by November, which also happens to be Sydney's last month of spring. Average temp = 68 degrees. In fact, Goodell would add a second World Series to keep one in America. Extending baseball into December through two Series' would expand the revenue potential, and give Ernie Banks' "Let's Play Two!" slogan a Goodell-sized reboot.
New reality show: "Bat Men." At least that's the working title for a new show, which would debut on the MLB Network, then run "best of" spin-offs during ESPN prime time. "Bat Men" would mandate that each MLB batter take part in a sideline reporter interview during their home plate walk-up. Also available in podcasts.
Uniformity. Product endorsements, within Goodell's first 100 days as MLB Commish, would expand from outfield fences and scoreboards to player jerseys and caps. Negotiations with Nike - and Popeye's Chicken - could reach into the billions.
Interleague all the time. After enjoying an attendance surge through 2012, Interleague matchups in MLB slumped in 2013; its 17th year of existence. Goodell's research will show that altering the MLB schedule to play Interleague games exclusively will boost TV ratings, attendance and merch sales, while expanding to new markets. Traditional NL/AL matchups and rivalries have been played out, he'll tell the owners, exhausting hope for any revenue growth.
Expand MLB franchises overseas. After numerous fact-finding trips abroad, Goodell green-lights a franchise expansion to Tokyo. Japan won the 2009 World Baseball Classic played in Dodger Stadium for its second consecutive title, and Far East fans are clamoring for more cooperative agreements. Other MLB expansion within 10 years includes Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (specifically Dubai, the most populated of the Emirates and part of the second largest economy in the Arab world).
Televise Spring Training lineup card announcements. Like the prime time excitement generated through round-the-clock coverage to bring the previously lackluster NFL Draft into "event" status, ESPN and the MLB Network will tag-team coverage for daily lineup card presentations to the umpiring crew at all Cactus and Grapefruit League sites. (Split-squad game lineup broadcasts will generate twice the revenue.)
Add regular season games. Goodell will boost the MLB season from 162 to 175 games. 13 extra games for 30 teams translates to 195 additional games (Interleague games, remember), which would raise MLB's TV revenue from $8 billion to $9.6 billion.
Don't laugh, Goodell has his visions. He won't sleep until NFL bottom lines dwarf the GDP of most countries. It's already out-pacing the Bahamas and is approaching Malta.
The Pro Bowl in Malta?? Hey, since we're on the subject ...