By Mitra Sorrells Posted October 23, 2012, 2:21 PM EDT
The host committee for Super Bowl XLVII is developing two new events in conjunction with next year's game, which will take place February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Verizon has signed on as title sponsor of the inaugural Super Bowl Boulevard, which will be a free four-day festival at the 16-acre riverfront Woldenberg Park beginning January 31.
“It will be a boardwalk-type setting where people will move through the area. There will be the live broadcast components, sponsors’ interactive areas, five music stages, food, and the excitement and decor and feel of the Super Bowl,” said Jay Cicero, executive director of the host committee and president and C.E.O. of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. The N.F.L. Network will broadcast from the park for several days leading up to the game, and NBC and Comcast will also be on site.
Cicero said the N.F.L. invited New Orleans to create the inaugural Super Bowl Boulevard, which is expected to become a required element of future host cities’ bids. “We spent three months doing due diligence on the potential of the event, the cost of producing the event, the challenges of load in and load out in that area, right next to the French Quarter,” Cicero said. “We were immediately excited by the prospect of setting the bar for all future host cities with the knowledge that New Orleans has an abundance of inherent assets that lend themselves perfectly toward this concept.”
The committee has hired Festival Productions, best known as the producer of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, to produce Super Bowl Boulevard. The event is intended to highlight local culture, with New Orleans- and Louisiana-based entertainment, and Creole and Cajun food. Another attraction of Super Bowl Boulevard will be a display of the Super Bowl Roman numerals on a barge in the Mississippi River about 100 feet off shore from the park.
The second new event will be the Super Saturday of Service, an opportunity for local and visiting volunteers to renovate five community recreation facilities. Some of the work is already underway, but it will culminate with activities on Saturday, February 2, the day before the game. As part of the project, turf from the Superdome will be moved to a nearby youth football stadium when the Super Bowl is over.
“Hosting the Super Bowl is about more than a football game. It is an opportunity to make a memorable and lasting impact on a community,” Cicero said. “The Super Saturday of Service will not only leave a lasting physical legacy in these neighborhoods, but should also prove to be a memorable Super Bowl experience for the local and visiting volunteers, N.F.L. players, media, nonprofit organizations, partners, and organizations that choose to participate.” Cicero said he hopes future host committees will create similar service projects.