SBD/February 5, 2013/Events and Attractions

Will Superdome's Power Outage Affect New Orleans' Hopes Of Hosting Future Super Bowls?

New Orleans officials are trying to talk about what went right at the Superdome
Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee Exec Dir Jay Cicero yesterday said that the blackout during Super Bowl XLVII “didn't dim the enthusiasm that NFL team owners and national media organizations expressed” about the city's appeal as a future host of the game, according to Mark Waller of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Cicero said, "Super Bowl XLVII was a tremendous success, not only for New Orleans, but the entire state of Louisiana." He added of the blackout at the Superdome, "It turned out to be, in the overall scope of things, something very minor. These things happen. Most of the time they happen when the cameras aren't on, but this one happened when it was. It was unfortunate, but no one was hurt." Cicero said that the “early turnout evidence for the Super Bowl and related festivities are encouraging.” He added that the Super Bowl Boulevard festival at Woldenberg Park “drew an estimated 150,000 people.” The number “bodes well when considering that 150,000 was the high end of the projected number of visitors.” Cicero said that the host committee “now will turn its attention to pursuing 2018, a Super Bowl that would coincide with the official 300th anniversary of New Orleans.” Cicero: "That '18 is a special year for New Orleans" (NOLA.com, 2/4). In N.Y., Greg Bishop notes New Orleans city officials and “prominent citizens tried to shift the narrative toward what had gone right.” The rest of the week “did little to damage the reputation of New Orleans as a city built to host major events” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/5).

NOT TO WORRY: ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas wrote, “While far from ideal, the power outage seems to be a pure fluke and I’m sure [its] cause is something that can be prevented in the future.” Excluding the power outage, Super Bowl week “went off in spectacular fashion by all accounts,” as New Orleans “knows how to throw a party and the NFL knows that.” Yasinskas: “There might not be a better Super Bowl venue and I doubt the 32 owners … suddenly are going to frown on New Orleans due to one unfortunate and random event” (ESPN.com, 2/4). The TIMES-PICAYUNE’s Waller noted sports marketing and event producers “who were in New Orleans for the last week of football championship festivities said they doubt the Super Bowl blackout will have any lasting effect on the city's prospects of hosting more." GMR Marketing Exec VP/Client Management Greg Busch said, "Everyone was safe. That is first and foremost." SportsMark President Keith Bruce said, “I think you have to look at the bigger picture there. New Orleans did such a fantastic job. The Host Committee was phenomenal.” Bruce said that this year’s event “might be the first he’s seen where hotel rooms were harder to find than tickets to the game.” He said that the hotel bookings were “a testament to the appeal of New Orleans as a travel destination.” Bruce added that a “flawless presentation in every other aspect saved New Orleans from serious consequences of the game delay” (NOLA.com, 2/4).

HOW'S YOUR MEMORY? In Miami, Adam Beasley writes if the power outage is “going to hurt New Orleans’ chances of a hosting the big game going forward, league commissioner Roger Goodell did a good job of hiding it.” Goodell yesterday said, “I do not think this will have any impact at all on what I think will be remembered as one of the great Super Bowl weeks.” But Beasley writes the NFL “hasn’t always been so forgiving.” Six years ago, an “unseasonable weather pattern dumped more than an inch of rain on the Dolphins’ stadium, and league decision-makers haven’t forgotten.” South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Rodney Barreto yesterday said that the Superdome “embarrassment was just another reminder why the game should regularly return to South Florida.” Barreto said, “I think some of the owners are going to say, ‘How many more times are we going to be embarrassed?’” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/5). SI.com’s Peter King noted a 34-minute delay “in the middle of the biggest event of the year on the sports (and television) calendar is going to be a factor when New Orleans comes up for a Super Bowl the next time.” It is “not good when you have a problem keeping the lights on.” King wrote, “I don’t care about the blackout, and I care only mildly about the choking traffic. This is a great place for a Super Bowl” (SI.com, 2/4).

FAN FEST: In Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle noted the NFL Experience “didn’t draw half as many visitors as it did in Indianapolis last year.” NFL officials said that “90,000 people attended the NFL Experience” in downtown New Orleans last week. That number “paled in comparison to the 265,000 that streamed into the interactive attraction last year” at the Indiana Convention Center. The NFL Experience this year was “open Wednesday through Saturday before the Super Bowl.” That is “three fewer days than the event was open” last year in Indianapolis (IBJ.com, 2/4).

STAKES ARE HIGH
: Goodell said that the "focus is now on making sure" a blackout "doesn't happen again next year" at MetLife Stadium. Goodell, who sat with N.J. Gov. Chris Christie at Sunday's game, said, "Yes, we've already had that conversation. He's already hard to work on that" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/4). NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures Eric Grubman said that the blackout warrants "a closer look at MetLife to ensure nothing like this happens in 2014" (NJ.com, 2/4). In N.Y., Gary Myers writes Goodell "has a lot at stake next year to make sure the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII and then Super Sunday game day is pulled off without any embarrassing glitches." The game day "bar has not been set very high recently in Dallas and New Orleans." Nobody "knows how to clear snow and ice like New York and New Jersey, so every conceivable snow plow and salt truck would be on high alert." And everything "would be done to prevent a power outage." Grubman said of MetLife Stadium, "Good stadium, good system, great engineers, good power, redundant power." Myers writes you can "imagine Goodell leaning over to Christie and begging him to make sure the MetLife Stadium electric bill is paid before Feb. 2 next year" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/5). NFL Giants Chair & Exec VP Steve Tisch said, "I think there’s a tremendous sensitivity to make this probably one of the most memorable events and certainly one of the most memorable sporting events ever to be planned and played." He added, "I think that week in New York is going to be unforgettable" (N.Y. POST, 2/5). NFL Jets Owner Woody Johnson said N.Y. and N.J. have a "huge task ahead of us to equal what you've done here" in New Orleans (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 2/5).

WANDERING THE DESERT: In Phoenix, Kent Somers noted the "biggest challenge facing organizers of the Arizona super bowl in 2015 is figuring out transportation." The last two Super Bowls have been "in cities, Indianapolis and New Orleans, that are walkable. Everything was close." Getting people "to and from Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, etc., is the challenge" (AZCENTRAL.com, 2/4).

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