If you believe Mayor Annise Parker, Super Bowl LI will be a guaranteed success.
“Houston knows how to put on major sporting events. We do it on a regular and routine basis. You can clearly tell that we’re in the rotation with most of the leagues. They want to come back to Houston. We have never delivered less than an outstanding event when we have hosted these major sporting activities.”
And really, Houston seems to be on a roll when it comes to hosting big sports events. Earlier this year, it hosted the NBA All-Star Game. Two years ago, the NCAA Final Four took place here and will again in 2016.
The last time Houston hosted the Super Bowl was in 2004.
Organizers say 2017 will be special because the city has changed so much over the last several years. For example, Discovery Green didn’t exist in 2004. In four years, it will be at the center of activities surrounding the big game.
Host committee head Ric Campo says that vision helped Houston’s bid.
“We told the owners how we’ve developed our downtown and created an incredible venue for an international stage. Because what the NFL is doing and what really business is doing in America is looking at Houston as the future, because Houston is so diverse and the rest of the country is going to look like us from an ethnicity perspective.”
For 10 days, an area surrounding Discovery Green will be Super Bowl “El Centro,” where fans can come together to celebrate and catch some of the Super Bowl spirit.
Until then, the host committee has some planning to do. Greg Ortale is president of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is part of the host committee.
“There’s nothing major that we have to do. It’s just a matter of logistics. It’s just a matter of making sure we have funding. It’s just a matter that we have a promotional plan.”
Ortale says four years is plenty of time to get everything in place for the event.
“We had the NBA All-Star Game, we had the Final Four, we got another Final Four coming up, so we got some grand rehearsals.”
If Houston’s Super Bowl event does not go down in history as one of the best, it won’t be for lack of confidence.