The NFL’s new schedule has created a potential problem for New Orleans.
The league’s plan to add a 17th regular-season game to each team’s schedule in the future means that the Super Bowl will be pushed deeper into February. For New Orleans, this means a potential conflict with Mardi Gras could exist in 2024 and that the Super Bowl might move to another city that year.
If this happens, New Orleans will not lose the bid outright. The city might just have to wait a year or two to play host. The league and the city are currently exploring options for other dates and previously discussed contingencies during the bidding process. Even though it presently sounds unlikely the game will remain in place, 2024 is not officially ruled out.
If the game does move to 2025, which is one of the likely possibilities right now, the Superdome’s four-year renovation plan, which is just starting, will be able to flow along an easier timeline.
The NFL will start using a 17-game schedule at some point between the 2021 and 2023 seasons.
The New Orleans Host Committee, led by the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Sports Foundation, has been in close communication with league officials about the change to a 17-game regular season.
“During the bid process in 2018, it was contemplated and discussed of the possibility of an extended schedule based on a new CBA,” the Saints said in a provided statement. “The Bid Committee, the New Orleans Saints and NFL worked together to build in contingencies if a potential conflict with Mardi Gras should affect the Super Bowl date.
“Mutually agreed-upon terms during the bid process granted assurances that the NFL and Host Committee would explore all options for still hosting the game in 2024, or, agreeing to host the Super Bowl in a future year when the citywide calendar permits.”
The league has recently been in contact with various hotels in the area to explore the possibility of booking rooms in other years. However, at this point, no plans have yet been finalized.