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Super Bowl XLIX Will Remain In Arizona

Update:

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that she has veto the controversial bill allowing businesses the right to deny service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds is signed into law.

The Super Bowl is expected to remain in Arizona now that the bill has been shot down.

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It is not often that a piece of proposed state legislation has a major impact on the NFL.  The temporarily named Senate Bill 1062 may be the exception however, as it has prompted NFL officials to explore the possibility of relocating Super Bowl XLIX.

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated is reporting that “a source close to the situation” has informed him that the league has begun to explore their options and possibly move Super Bowl XLIX from the Phoenix area to another location if the controversial bill allowing businesses the right to deny service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds is signed into law.

No one wants to do this, but if the league’s hand is forced, it would have to begin preparing for that process,” the source close to the situation said. “If this doesn’t get vetoed, it has to know, what has to be done next? That discussion has begun.”

Banks notes that 24 of 32 ownership groups in the NFL would have to vote in favor of relocation for it to occur.  Tampa Bay would presumably be next in line for the honor, as it was the only other finalist for the game other than the Phoenix area.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has until the end of Saturday to sign the bill into law, veto it, or leave it alone.

Relocating the Super Bowl could prove to be a big blow to the Phoenix area, as there have been reports that the annual Pro Bowl could be moved from Hawaii to Arizona to capitalize on the large media presence that will undoubtedly descend on the area for the Super Bowl.

The source close to the situation added, “It’s a big undertaking and one the league would very much like to avoid. It’d be incredibly logistically challenging to pull it off and no one’s even sure if it’s possible. Some expert would have to make a decision on that at some point, but the game’s going to be played somewhere next year.”

The Arizona Cardinals have also weighed in on the situation, expressing their disdain for any kind of divisive legislation.

“What so many love about football is its ability to bring people together,” the Cardinals said in their statement, via ESPN.com. “We do not support anything that has the potential to divide, exclude and discriminate. As a prominent and highly-visible member of this community, we strive to bring positive attention to the state. We are concerned with anything that creates a negative perception of Arizona and those of us who are fortunate to call it home.”

Similarly, the NFL has expressed opposition to the bill, stating:

Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.

The Super Bowl is scheduled for February 1, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.