A Tale of Two Super Cities: Indianapolis and New Orleans
February 7th is the two-hundredth anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth. An enduring required reading masterpiece of his, a Tale of Two Cities, considered characters’ lives in London and Paris during the bloodiest days of the French Revolution.
Without much of a segue to justify my title, I offer a Tale of Two Super Bowl Cities, Indianapolis and New Orleans, that’s XLVI and XLVII to sports fans and 2012 and 2013 to planners. Basically, London and Paris in either nineteenth century or the twenty-first are far more similar than Indy and the Big Easy as venues.
Though both cities are sufficiently equipped to handle an event like the Super Bowl, they are in stark contrast to each other in almost every other aspect.
1. Accommodations: Indianapolis has approximately 6,500 hotel rooms including a brand new JW Marriott with 1,000 rooms. New Orleans has about 35,000 hotel rooms including almost 1,200 in the freshly rebuilt Hyatt over-looking the Superdome.
2. Airports: Indianapolis has a brand new, $1 billion Airport with about seven million passengers per year. New Orleans has a forty-year old terminal with over eight million passengers per year.
3. Host Experience: Indy just completed hosting its first Super Bowl to many positive reviews for good planning and a successful event. New Orleans has hosted the Super Bowl nine times before, most recently in 2002, very palpably in the shadow of September 11, 2001.
4. Activity: The Super Bowl in Indianapolis is the crowning jewel of a rebranding of the city to promote its enthusiasm and involvement in sports, an effort involving acquisition of an NFL team and building two bespoke stadiums. Annually, they are host to the Indianapolis 500 which attracts approximately 300,000 spectators. The Super Bowl in New Orleans will pause Mardi Gras festivities next year. Mardi Gras attracts over one million revelers annually. Other events hosted throughout the year with huge visitor numbers common in New Orleans are the Sugar Bowl (70,000+), the Final Four (75,000+), Jazz Fest (400,000 +), Essence Fest (400,000+), and the French Quarter Festival (500,000+).
5. Key Industry: While Indianapolis is working to improve their tourism industry while fostering strong corporate business activity. New Orleans has many visitors and, while always seeking to attract more, would welcome the kind of corporate business activity Indianapolis boasts. In essence, both cities are seeking to further diversify.
Although the challenges are different between a mid-western stalwart city and a world-renowned tourist destination, the logistical and planning challenges associated with delivering a 100,000 plus visitor event are real and critical. Each year, the NFL flies 1,500 Friends and Families of the competing teams on charter aircraft to and from the Big Game. Dallas/Fort Worth, the host of Super Bowl XLV, had an additional 40,000 travellers and had to contend with a freak ice storm.
TMG was able to visit Indianapolis and observe preparations to accommodate heavy aviation demand going to and, most especially, departing the game. We’re working to assist in planning for a smooth experience for all New Orleans’ visitors come 2013. We’re committed to making our Super Bowl, like Indy’s, the best of times!
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