The annual NFL Spring Meeting is set to convene Tuesday, May 19 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. One of the keys of the two-day business meeting will be the decision by the league's 32 team owners of the location of Super Bowl XLVII, to be played in February 2013.
The three finalists that will have 15 minutes to present bids to the ownership groups are New Orleans, Phoenix and South Florida. New Orleans is bidding to host its tenth Super Bowl, dating back to Super Bowl IV in 1969 and the first since Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002.
On Wednesday, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation shipped out 55 very impressive presentation packages – one to each of the 47 members of ownership groups around the league and additional packages to the league office – to begin to make their case to host the game that they feel will be their "Perfect 10".
Each of the individualized packages is a locally produced cypress box with NOLA 2013 on the spine, the New Orleans 2013 Perfect 10 logo on one side and the other side featuring the logo of the team whose owner the box is going to, painted with some New Orleans flair by artists from the Young Aspirations/Young Artists (YA/YA) program.
Jay Cicero, president and chief executive officer of the GNO Sports Foundation described what each team owner would be receiving inside of their individual boxes.
"Inside the box are three books with the technical information that the owners are going to see," said Cicero. "Each one of these books again has the YA/YA artwork on the outside with a little drawer in the box that contains an executive summary that is tailored towards each individual owner. Then there is an iPod in there with speakers that when it is turned on it automatically goes to an opening video presenting this bid to the owners. It's our intention with this package to really make a great impression on the owners. We've been working along with Saints ownership in Mr. Benson and Rita LeBlanc and the Saints staff for over eight months on this process.
"We're looking to really impress them and show them that we're not taking it for granted. We know that it's not a given that it's going to be awarded to New Orleans and we really want to make the impression on them that we have a strong desire to host this again for a 'Perfect 10'th time."
Saints Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Ben Hales has been a key member of the committee putting the Super Bowl bid together. He spoke of the involvement of the Saints and the role they would play as hosts of the nation's premier sporting event.
"Mr. Benson and Rita Benson LeBlanc and the whole team is so optimistic about where the city is going and where we have come from that this is really the perfect thing to bring back to the city and show the rest of the world what we're capable of doing," said Hales.
Hales also spoke of the experience that hosting nine previous Super Bowls over the past 40 years has provided New Orleans, and natural fit of bringing such an event back to the Crescent City.
"We have had nine Super Bowls here that have been tremendous experiences," he said. "We've hosted just about as many as any other city and we'd like to match our competitors out there. We do things differently here. In a lot of ways, our city is built to host Super Bowls. Our hospitality industry, the way our city is laid out, the proximity of the Superdome to all of the different venues is tremendous, and it's really something that other cities just can't compete with. They have some special things about their cities but we're pretty special ourselves."
One of the key components to winning the bid and bringing the Super Bowl here in four years was last week's announcement of the deal between the Saints and the state of Louisiana to improve the Superdome and the area around the Superdome. Getting that deal done was a critical piece to the hosting puzzle, according to Hales.
"All along we've said and the NFL has said that we need to get up to Super Bowl standards and that's part of that evolution," he said. "The number of seats, the number of suites available, the number of hospitality venues – all of that has changed since we last hosted and we have to catch up. These renovations do exactly that."