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Foto de archivo del 1 de febrero de 2004 del estadio de Houston durante le Super Bowl. La NF L decidió el martes, 21 de mayo de 2013, otorgarle el Super Bowl de 2016 a la zona de la bahía de San Francisco.

BOSTON -- Let the Bay Area's Super Bowl party begin.

NFL owners today selected the San Francisco 49ers' new Santa Clara stadium to host the 50th Super Bowl in 2016, sending the nation's biggest sporting event back to the Bay Area for the first time since 1985.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement at a news conference following the vote at the league owners' meeting at a Boston hotel. The only other finalist to host the game was the Miami area.

Goodell also announced that NFL owners, at the same meeting, voted to play the 51st Super Bowl in 2017 in Houston. Houston was not eligible for the 2016 Super Bowl and competed with Miami for the 2017 game by virtue of Miami's defeat to Santa Clara.

The Bay Area has been ready to celebrate since the Florida's legislature this month failed to OK a ballot measure that would have allowed voters the chance to approve $350 million in renovations to the Miami Dolphins' aging stadium -- something it needed to be considered a serious competitor. The problems in Miami took much of the drama out of today's meeting, though Bay Area leaders seemed to be taking nothing for granted until the votes were counted.

Still, the emotion was palpable after the decision was reached.

"After losing a Super Bowl, it's certainly nice to win a Super Bowl," 49ers CEO Jed York said, alluding to February's 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.


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"I'm thrilled," said former 49ers tight end Brent Jones, who took home three Super Bowl trophies from 1987 to 1997. "You talk about the perfect culmination. For a new stadium to be awarded Super Bowl L in the greatest area in the country is spectacular."

Jones was born in Santa Clara and played at Santa Clara University.

Former 49ers running back Roger Craig scored three touchdowns the last time a Super Bowl was played in the Bay Area. Now a vice president for business development at Palo Alto-based Tibco Software, Craig said:

"I think it's beautiful. I know people said Miami had more experience hosting and all that. But, please, why wouldn't people want to come to the Bay Area? It's one of the most beautiful places in the country. It's the heart of Silicon Valley."

BayArea fans were also thrilled.

"It will bring a lot of money to our economy and even more support to our teams," said Rachelle Yellin, 19, of Santa Cruz, outside San Francisco City Hall, where Mayor Ed Lee this morning staged a rally for the Golden State Warriors basketball team, which last week lost a second-round playoff series.

Added her friend Audra Grace Avila, 18, also of Santa Cruz: "This whole city is on a winning streak."

Gushed San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee: "This is what we do. This is the kind of international event that we love hosting."

The losing bid committee from South Florida, meanwhile, blamed the defeat on the Florida Legislature's decision not to place the stadium renovation on the ballot.

"There's no doubt in my mind we had the better bid," said Rodney Barreto, the Miami bid chairman. "It's a shame."

But former San Francisco Giants executive Pat Gallagher, who was in Boston to help with the Bay Area bid, said it was unfair to say the region won by default.

"We never ever took it for granted," agreed Joe D'Alessandro, vice chair of the bid committee.

The Super Bowl is expected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity to the region and unprecedented attention to Santa Clara, which has a population of 118,000 and will host a game expected to draw more than 100 million television viewers. Dozens of pre-game events will be scattered around the Bay Area, with San Francisco hosting a bulk of the celebrations during the week leading up the game, as the NFL expects its golden anniversary Super Bowl to be its biggest ever.

In Santa Clara this morning, city and community leaders filled City Hall to watch Goodell unveil the winner live on television.

When the vote came through in their favor, cheers went up and 49ers' fan Kathy Hughes hugged everyone around her. "I knew this would happen," she said.

Lisa Santillan, co-president of the Santa Clara 49ers booster club, spent more than five years lobbying for the new stadium to be built.

"This was always about the future," she said. "We got the Super Bowl. That's great. But there's more to come. Like the World Cup in soccer, concerts and college sports."

Another booster club member, 82-year-old Del Fontana, was born and grew up in Santa Clara and does not mind if San Francisco steals her town's thunder.

"What am I supposed to do -- stop talking to my San Francisco friends?" she cracked. "I'd do this all over again in a minute."

Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews and other city officials were jubilant, arguing once again that the new stadium was worth taxpayer support.

"Before it opens, we got a Super Bowl," Matthews said. "It's a pretty good return on investment. Everyone's going to know where it's at -- in Santa Clara, right in the heart of Silicon Valley."

After spending the previous two days practicing inside "war rooms" at a Boston Hyatt, the bid committees from San Francisco and Miami made their final pitches to NFL owners just after lunch today.

San Francisco bid chairman Daniel Lurie, a San Francisco philanthropist, and D'Alessandro, CEO of San Francisco Travel, spoke for 15 minutes at 1:45 p.m. EDT, following a 15-minute presentation from the South Florida delegation. Both team owners, including York, also spoke for five minutes each, and the NFL staff gave a 15-minute summary to the owners. Then the 32 owners cast secret, written ballots.

Dozens of Bay Area celebrities pitched NFL owners on Santa Clara. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he was called recently by one of the people he respects most -- former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who sits on the Bay Area Super Bowl Bid Committee.

"It's just a great stadium," Kraft said.

Lurie said starting Wednesday the region will have to begin looking for a new CEO to lead a staff of 20 to 25 new employees that will be charged with planning the game. He expects to continue raising money to defray the $40 million cost of the game, of which $30 million has been raised so far.

Lurie said companies such as Google and Apple will each pick one or two areas of expertise to work on new technologies and services for the game.

The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, which is set to open by August 2014, was named a finalist by NFL owners in October and was first deemed eligible for a Super Bowl when the project was still being planned in 2010.

The February 2016 game, officially called Super Bowl L, will mark the first NFL title game in California since Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego in January 2003, when the Oakland Raiders were crushed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 48-21.

The only other NFL championship played in the Bay Area was Super Bowl XIX, when -- just like today -- San Francisco beat Miami. That time, 84,059 fans packed in to the old Stanford Stadium to watch the 49ers defeat the Dolphins, 38-16, on Jan. 21, 1985. Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana led the Niners to what was at the time their second Super Bowl trophy.

No team has ever played in their home stadium in a Super Bowl.

The 49ers, meanwhile, are the odds-on favorites in Las Vegas to win the 2014 Super Bowl, which will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where the New York Giants and Jets play. The owners had also previously selected to play the 49th Super Bowl, in 2015, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., where the Arizona Cardinals play.

Staff writers Daniel Brown, Erin Ivie and Joe Rodriguez contributed to this report. Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.