Tourism agency eyes Super Bowl
As president of Visit Pittsburgh, the region's official tourism agency, Joe McGrath worked with the Pirates on landing the 2006 All-Star Game; the Penguins on the 2011 NHL Winter Classic; Duquesne on the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament opening rounds; and Robert Morris on the 2013 Frozen Four. He would like to work with the Rooney family on helping Pittsburgh follow New York/New Jersey's lead in hosting an outdoor Super Bowl.
Q: Knowing now that the NFL has committed to playing an outdoor Super Bowl in New Jersey, is Pittsburgh considering a bid?
A: I'd be more than happy to put in a bid for it. I tried to convince the Steelers before they built the new stadium to put a dome on it. Frankly they said, "Our fans won't go for that." I said, "But we can get a Super Bowl." They said, "Eh, we get enough." ... But it does make a tremendous difference in our January. The hospitality community here lives and dies by the Steelers getting into the playoffs in January. We don't meet the seating requirements (for a Super Bowl). They can pack it in (at Heinz Field), and sometimes they bend it. Certainly the Rooneys and the Steelers' organization and those ins with the National Football League — it can happen. I wouldn't put it out of mind.
Q: Won't every cold-weather NFL city be watching how that New York/New Jersey Super Bowl goes before considering a bid?
A: Yeah, and things have changed. When you're talking about the Super Bowl — it's so expensive to attend, and it's all about corporate entertainment. It's what happens off the field as much as what happens on the field — not for the sports fans but the ones looking to be entertained. There are things that didn't exist 10 years ago — like heated tents — which make it more doable in a cold city like ours.