SBJ/January 7-13, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL House bound for New Orleans

The NFL is bringing back its Super Bowl hospitality venue, NFL House, for a second year. 

The high-end spot for corporate sponsors and other NFL business partners, run in conjunction with Sportsmark, returns with a larger footprint and some outdoor space, given New Orleans’ warmer climate compared with Indianapolis, last year’s Super Bowl host.

A rendering shows NFL House, which will be in the warehouse district of New Orleans.
Photo by: NFL
This year’s NFL House is composed of three buildings on Fulton Street, in the warehouse district of New Orleans, and square footage has increased from 15,000 last year to around 20,000 this year.

While NFL House will keep its hours of noon until 2 a.m. from the Thursday through Saturday of Super Bowl week, morning activities have been added, included spinning and yoga classes, along with a blow-dry bar and hot-towel shaves. A game room returns for sponsors and licensees, and a car service has been added. Naturally, the food is New Orleans cuisine.

Additionally, “House” privileges now can be used outside the venue for its subscribers, at least to some degree. NFL House subscribers get a reserved table and gratis meals at a nearby restaurant, space at the World War II Museum and reserved places at Café Du Monde for the traditional morning coffee and beignets — presumably before spinning class.

“The idea was to show that membership had privileges, which can also travel,” said Frank Supovitz, the NFL’s senior vice president of events.

Player appearances continue, along with a fun run with players scheduled for Saturday. A merchandise store from last year has been converted to merchandise sales via tablet this time around.

Following the disastrous Super Bowl in Dallas two years ago, the NFL introduced the premium concept in November 2011 and eventually it sold out the space for the House’s 2012 debut. Supovitz said the buzz from last year’s NFL House at Union Station in Indianapolis was enough that deposits were being taken the day after the last Super Bowl, and a waiting list indicating a sellout (around 1,000 passes) was assured by April. Pricing has increased this year, as it is now $450 for a one-day pass and $1,200 for a three-day pass, compared with $400 and $1,050 last season.

“The concept is resonating,” said Keith Bruce, president of Sportsmark, which has done similar hospitality houses at the Olympics and other big sports events. “We wanted it to be like a b-to-b hotel lobby where you could meet people you wanted to talk to whether or not you knew they were going to be there.”

NFL corporate sponsor Verizon is the presenting sponsor of NFL House and will have a branded charging station, along with product demonstrations. New league sponsor Lenovo will also support by showcasing its convertible tablets and PCs.

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