Marilyn Carlson Nelson on the Super Bowl “Then and Now”
My emotions are a combination of excitement and anxiety, as we have to ensure our community is ready for one million guests – but the job is exciting.
Twenty-six years ago, I was the Host Committee Chairman and felt all the weight of the responsibility. Now I am sharing the Chairman duties with Richard Davis and Doug Baker. We still feel the weight of the responsibility, but working together and collaborating makes it a lot of fun for me. I can bring experience from past events and they bring their network of business relationships.
What were some of the big differences in bidding for the 2018 Super Bowl versus 1992?
In bidding for this Super Bowl, we primarily talked about the stadium. We also had to demonstrate our enthusiasm and capacity from a travel and hospitality standpoint. We’re proud to be seen as professionals who can stage large events like the Ryder Cup and a major political convention. We have built a reputation for success with public/private partnerships and in working with our public sector to manage all logistics and security. Plus, they remembered our successes from the Super Bowl 26 years ago.
The biggest difference in bidding this time was the scale. Since 1992 everything about the Super Bowl has gotten bigger: the size of the expected crowd, the size of the budget, the number of security and the number of events. I think it’s bigger and better now than ever.
What excites you most about hosting this Super Bowl, from a business perspective?
In bringing the Super Bowl back to Minnesota, we want our party to be one with a purpose, just like in 1992. Of course, the football game is the purpose for the NFL. For us, the purpose also includes:
- Showcasing Minnesota to nation and world.
- Enjoying positive economic impact – January and February are not months where we see many visitors. This provides a great boost to our hotels and ancillary services.
- Making sure all those who come will tell positive stories and help increase our convention bookings. Indianapolis benefited from a 20% increase in convention bookings. I certainly hope that happens for us.
- Lastly, we hope that everyone in Minneapolis and Minnesota, to the extent possible, will be beneficiaries of the positive economic impact.
Any advice you would give to local businesses, particularly in downtown Minneapolis, in preparation for the Super Bowl?
The benefits and challenges for the upcoming Super Bowl are that our stadium is right in downtown Minneapolis. We know it can be disruptive to have ‘guests in your home.’ That’s how all of us have to think about the Super Bowl, but also recognize what this means for the city.
The benefits are for the whole community. It’s really important to recognize that this only happens every so often. It took us 26 years to get another Super Bowl.
Rather than focusing on any inconveniences, I hope businesses will encourage employees to become engaged and talk to them about civic pride. We want employees and their families to enjoy and take part in Super Bowl Live. Have fun and celebrate it with your company. Who knows how long it will take to get it back.
I look forward to sharing more of Marilyn’s thoughts and insights, particularly on helping children through the Legacy Fund and encouraging businesses to combat child trafficking, in the very near future.