The Big Easy’s most recent high-profile event success was the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship game. Nearly 77,000 fans watched the “hometown” LSU Tigers (Baton Rouge is 80 miles from New Orleans) defeat the Clemson Tigers for LSU’s first CFP win. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, LSU’s quarterback, did not disappoint in front of the unapologetically partisan crowd.
The CFP event has been on our radar, even before the first such game was played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in January of 2015. We reiterated our interest to CFP officials in becoming a future host city, on this trip. A small delegation including Meet Minneapolis board member Lester Bagley, Bloomington CVB VP of Strategy and Sales Dan O'Neill and Sports Minneapolis Director Matt Meunier were in New Orleans for the game and related activities.
During our visit, we closely evaluated how New Orleans was able to bring the CFP list of requirements to life in a community that is built for such major events. Our team evaluated the logistics and events to determine how our community can best accommodate the CFP. We had formal briefings as well as informal meetings with representatives from the Mercedes Benz Superdome, and the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center and other key leaders.
Our group concluded that New Orleans did an admirable job hosting the event as the city displayed its signature southern charm and history seasoned with a big dose of culinary magic and revelry.
While we cannot replicate how New Orleans welcomed the tens of thousands of visitors, our experience with other major events clearly makes us an appealing option for the CFP.
CFP has commitments through 2024, and there is no formal timeline for the selection of cities beyond that period. Our team, however, will continue to strategize on our approach and look forward to making an official pitch to CFP decision makers at the appropriate time. We will keep you posted and would welcome any ideas or insights you have that may help us in this quest.