I had never before been to a Super Bowl. And it wasn’t until I walked through the gates on Feb 3rd that I truly believed I was going to the game.
I had planned an evening of whiskey, cheese and football on my couch when offered an out-of-the-blue invite from a friend. But when I learned how he secured his tickets, I was skeptical, but darn if we didn’t go.
So Much Happening
Anyone who watched the game on TV and thought it was boring was (obviously) just not there—so much happened in the stadium. There were no idle breaks on the field; huge TV screens showed commercials and previews and featured NFL stars and awards. Concerts and pyrotechnics constantly entertained.
The Peach Bowl I recently attended was a game. This Super Bowl was an experience.
Super Bowl: The Experience
The actual game is only part of the entertainment package.
My group arrived at 3 pm for the Super Bowl Experience at the Georgia World Congress Center. The week prior, a temporary concert venue at Atlantic Station hosted headliner Foo Fighters and other bands. Big names Aerosmith, Ludacris, Bruno Mars and Cardi B appeared at Atlanta’s Super Bowl Music Fest. Even NBA great and ATL resident Shaquille O’Neal offered Shaq’s Fun House, billed as “part music festival, part carnival, part circus.”
All this activity made Atlanta the busiest I have ever seen it. Downtown was packed, and Atlanta warmly welcomed Super Bowl visitors.
Super Bowl: A Total Win?
The Super Bowl cost $46M. Was it worth it? It’s estimated that 1M people attended the game and surrounding activities. That’s worth something.
While final revenue tallies won’t appear for weeks, Georgia Dept. of Economic Development COO Bert Brantley says, “For us, it was a complete and total win. We could not have scripted it any better in terms of having the chance to show off Atlanta to the world, but also to the folks who were here in town.”
I am not normally a believer in public subsidy of stadiums. (Anyone remember last year’s blog “The Not So Obvious Connection Between Stadiums and Community?”) But I’m singing a different tune after the Super Bowl. The impact of this event is huge, and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium has more in the pipeline, like the SEC Championship 2019, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl 2019 ,the NCAA Men’s Final Four (2020) and possibly the World Cup.
I must add that Atlanta even did well with traffic, despite the 80+ MARTA bus drivers “sick-out.”
Stan’s Super Bowl Takeaway
The city of Atlanta gets a gold star for this well-run event. I hope we get it again.
In fact, the only glitch happened before the game even started—when the ref blew calls and the Saints didn’t make it to the party.