Atlanta group studies Super Bowl, set to go ‘on the clock’

Feb 03, 2018
USA Today Sports
U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl on Sunday.

An Atlanta delegation of about 30 people got a day-long look at the inner workings of the Super Bowl from NFL officials Friday. 

A series of tours and briefings in Minneapolis was designed to show the Atlantans what’s headed their way next year, when Super Bowl 53 will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

The delegation’s day wrapped up with a behind-the-scenes visit to U.S. Bank Stadium, where the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will meet in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday. 

At an early-morning news conference Monday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the Minnesota host committee will ceremonially “hand off” the mega-event to Atlanta for next year. 

“Then we’re on the clock,” said Brett Daniels, chief operating officer of the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee. 

Daniels, who has spent the past week in Minnesota, identified two major takeaways from his time there. 

“What I have really seen is how energized the community is,” he said. “There’s an opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people in Atlanta to experience the Super Bowl in some way, shape or form, whether it be as a volunteer, attending (ancillary events) or being part of some of the activities throughout the year leading to the game. Finding ways for us to connect with the city of Atlanta, I think, will be critical. 

“The other (takeaway) is plan, plan, plan – and plan early. The folks from Minnesota and (last year’s host) Houston have said you can never get enough stuff done early because you’re always going to have little things pop up one after another at the deadline.” 

The Atlanta group’s tour of U.S. Bank Stadium underscored how dramatically a building is transformed for a Super Bowl. 

“It’s unbelievable, the planning and logistics that go into it,” said Daniels, a former Dallas Cowboys executive. 

The group also visited other key aspects of the week-long spectacle Friday, including: Super Bowl Live, an outdoor fan festival in downtown Minneapolis; the volunteer operations center, from which 10,000 local volunteers are deployed; and a venue for events associated with premium hospitality packages. 

In addition to host-committee staffers, the Atlanta delegation included representatives of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Atlanta Sports Council, the Georgia World Congress Center, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Falcons and city government. 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is scheduled to participate in Monday’s “handoff” news conference in Minneapolis. 

“It has been a great week,” Daniels said Friday night. “We’re looking forward to getting back to Atlanta and dissecting it all and starting to make some moves.”