Al Kelly: ‘Transportation is the biggest issue’
■ What’s your biggest challenge in putting on the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather market?
■ Where do you stand in terms of sponsorship sales and budget goals?
KELLY: We are looking to raise and manage a budget of around $60 million. … For comparison, Phoenix is looking at a budget of
|Al Kelly’s been busy preparing for next year’s Super Bowl. Last month he was with Woody Johnson (left) and Roger Goodell.
■ So you are close to being sold out?
KELLY: Overall, we have very little inventory left. I am debating with myself whether we should hold a few suites out until the end, because depending on the teams involved, you can get a pretty penny for them. We are down to very little left, as far as our asset base. We actually aren’t selling right now. … We’d like to sell more at different levels. There are some interesting opportunities. We want to see if we can sell a title sponsorship to our volunteer program. We need 15,000 volunteers for this event. That compares to 7,500 in New Orleans and 8,000 in Indy. We’re at 12,000 volunteers already.
■ So where are you in terms of hitting your budget?
KELLY: I feel good about the revenue side of it, but we’ve got to manage the expense side of it. Weather is a variable, and I’m buying a lot of tickets, and we’re not going to know the ticket price for some time. There are all these unknowns. We have to manage our expenses carefully and we have to manage against assumptions. So are we making good assumptions about how much hotels or tickets are going to cost or how much weather is going to cost us? It’s about managing these variables, which could have the biggest impact on our budget.
■ Since you’ve done better than expected, are you expecting a budget surplus?
KELLY: I would hope we’d have a surplus and I’d hope it will go to the foundation we have formed. It’s the Snowflake Youth Foundation, which will help organizations that help kids with after-school, evening, weekend and summer programs. That will ultimately be decided by the board.
■ It’s about economic development …
KELLY: Sure. Our main Super Bowl is really Monday to Saturday of that week, in terms of the economic benefit for the region. I don’t have to worry about Sunday; that’s the NFL’s responsibility, and they do it well. Our responsibility is taking advantage of a time of year that is generally a little slower period of time in the calendar, with upwards of 200,000 people being here and not necessarily worrying about what things cost. They are willing to come to a Super Bowl site and spend money. We want to be sure that’s what they do.