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San Francisco and Houston awarded 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls

Fans react during the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots in Indianapolis, Indiana, Febru
Fans react during the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots in Indianapolis, Indiana, Febru

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - San Francisco and Houston were chosen on Tuesday as host cities for the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls after National Football League (NFL) team owners voted for the two ahead of Miami.

The San Francisco Bay Area will host the 50th Super Bowl in early 2016 at Levi's Stadium, the brand new home of the 49ers, which is still under construction.

Then Houston will stage the 51st edition of the sport's championship game in early 2017 at Reliant Stadium, the home of the Texans.

Miami, which had already hosted the Super Bowl a record-tying 10 times, was the odd city out in a three-way contest.

The South Florida bid was doomed after Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was unable to secure enough state funding to redevelop the team's 26-year-old stadium.

"(Tuesday's) decision doesn't dampen our enthusiasm to pursue Super Bowls in the future, since we are steadfast in our belief that those games are good for the South Florida community," Ross said in a statement.

The only previous time the Super Bowl was played in the Bay Area was in 1985, when the 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium.

The 49ers, one of the NFL's most successful teams, won the last of their five championships in January 1995 but made the Super Bowl last season, losing to the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.

The northern California city is in the midst of a golden period in sport with the San Francisco Giants winning the Major League Baseball World Series two of the last three seasons.

The city's spectacular Bay is the host site for this year's America's Cup yachting series while the space-age Levi's Stadium is being built in Santa Clara, just south of San Francisco.

The stadium will seat nearly 70,000 people and will feature stadium-wide Wi-Fi, streaming video, mobile connectivity, in-seat tablet holders and huge high definition video boards measuring over 13,000 square feet.

The bid had the backing some of the biggest industry names in Silicon Valley, such as Apple, Google and Yahoo and a 2010 report estimated the Super Bowl would generate between $300 million and $500 million for the region.

"It's an awesome, awesome thing that they've allowed one of the biggest games, the golden anniversary, to be played in the golden state," 49ers chief executive Jed York said.

"We look forward to NFL fans from around the globe enjoying our region and our stadium, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world."

Houston will be hosting the game for the third time after 1974 and 2004.

"This is a worldwide stage that will be constructed in Houston and the world will be watching," Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said.

"It's an opportunity to showcase our wonderful city, the NFL and the Super Bowl all at the same time."

The next Super Bowl will be held in February 2014 in East Rutherford in New Jersey, the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, while the 2015 game will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the home ground for the Arizona Cardinals.

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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