First Impressions to start the week & TEAM ATL
It was a late arrival for me (11.45pm on Monday) and a red eye flight for others but regardless of the time (and predicted snow/ice storm outside) the help and support in place was evident straight away - the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee volunteers or 'TEAM ATL' as they are known, were doing a fantastic job as 'directors of first impressions' and assisting with advice / directions plus the signage was everywhere helping direct the foot traffic to trains or ride share services. Already there were useful signs around with tips on how to best time your return trip with the expected record amount of people flying out on the Monday following the game.
Straight away I could see all of the work that had gone into the set up of downtown Atlanta - transforming it into a Super Bowl party for the influx of fans over the week. The TEAM ATL volunteers were on every corner representing their city and providing local advice on directions and even places to eat - it was obvious Lee Hendrickson and the team had things rolling smoothly. I had a chance to check out the Super Bowl Experience set up (an interactive area for all things football) - all of this was in close proximity to Mercedes-Benz Stadium which is walking distance from downtown. Many of the visitors remarked how much of a difference it makes to a game day experience being able to walk from downtown straight to the stadium and easily get home / back to hotels. Atlanta certainly have an amazing set up with Mercedes Benz Stadium an easy 10 minute walk from most parts of the city
Learning / networking opportunities & the future host cities are already planning..
The meeting and networking opportunities during Super Bowl week were on par (if not better) than any conference. Everyone is in town to learn, network and share ideas / experience on events - whether this was in a formal setting or over a coffee (maybe a beer depending on the time of day..) The week also served as a chance for us to catch up with current clients of Rosterfy throughout the week. It was awesome to meet up with Elle Kehoe and the team from the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee to begin initial plans on the roll out of their volunteer program and the role Rosterfy will play as the technology behind this. Miami will be our 4th consecutive Super Bowl and we can't wait to work with Elle again after her success running the program in Minnesota for Super Bowl 52. It was also great to see Rosterfy clients the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission and Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation taking it in and seeing how aspects of the event might apply / benefit their city when the worlds biggest sporting stage comes to their backyard.
The Legacy opportunities of hosting a Super Bowl - Atlanta culture and local organizations
The legacy of hosting a major event for a city is a subject that Shannan Gove & I are really passionate about - we speak with clients frequently on this topic. What is going to happen once the event finishes? What happens with this database of close to 10,000 volunteers - is it jut going to sit on a spreadsheet and go wasted or can you capitalize on this and create a volunteer / community engagement program on going in the city? Following our work with the Houston Super Bowl LI - we partnered with the Houston Sports Authority who took over the Rosterfy license and use the platform / database on going for events they attract to the city plus they can keep recruiting for anyone who wants to help out with future events - check it out here
Atlanta as a city has an amazing opportunity following Super Bowl LIII to build a powerful legacy program. The culture is certainly a very proud one and non for profit organizations like Hands on Atlanta & Soccer in the Streetsreally represent the 'give back' attitude that is so prevalent in the community.
Day 6 - Game day!
The Rosterfy team were very fortunate to get access to Super Bowl game day tickets. The city was abuzz from the start of the day and full of predominantly Pats fans screaming in your ear. The pre game official events were incredible - American sports really does hospitality right, always providing a premium experience without sacrificing any of the 'tailgate' style atmosphere so people can relax and still enjoy a football game day feel. As a new stadium our expectations of Mercedes Benz Stadium were high and it didn't disappoint, the atmosphere literally hits you in the face as you walk in. Whilst the game itself wasn't the attacking style we expected, we all still appreciate the fact we were at the Super Bowl and got to see Tom Brady in action. Hard to argue with 6 rings when it comes to the GOAT discussions...
Bring on Miami for Super Bowl LIV in 2020!