There are still 255 regular season games until Super Bowl LIII commandeers Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
But the planning for the hoopla that will take place in the days leading up to the Feb. 3 game in downtown Atlanta started months ago.
If the past couple of years are an indication – and they should be – visitors and residents will be confronted with an avalanche of activities (music, primarily, but also culinary and celebrity oriented) and many, many opportunities to give their credit cards a workout.
Last year in Minneapolis, concerts by Pink, Jennifer Lopez and Imagine Dragons were held at the Downtown Armory, while the Dave Matthews Band played in nearby St. Paul.
The plan for Atlanta, said Don Renzulli, executive vice president of events at On Location Experiences, is to focus events in downtown Atlanta.
“This is a unique city where you have the stadium, the convention center, an arena and Centennial Olympic Park all within a stone’s throw from each other,” he said.
For those aforementioned concerts, fans could buy tickets individually – as with any concert – or purchase a package through OLE, which works directly with the Super Bowl and Mercedes-Benz Stadium for ticket packages and “experiences.”
OLE also produces the Super Bowl LIVE festival, a free event that last year stretched across six blocks of downtown Minneapolis and drew more than 1 million people over a 10-day period (Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis helped recruit some of the artists who braved the frigid conditions to play outdoors, including The Revolution, X Ambassadors and The Jayhawks).
For the Atlanta production, Centennial Olympic Park will be the staging ground.
“(The park) gives us a great opportunity to showcase downtown Atlanta,” Renzulli said.
As for the types of music that will be booked, fans can expect diversity.
“One of the things we pitched the committee early on was the music in Atlanta and the different genres. I don’t think it will be one genre or the other; we want to try to mix a little bit in of all the genres. We’re going to have some other big music things going on in conjunction with Super Bowl LIVE. If we’re going to have hip-hop one night, we’ll bring in country and rock and pop another.”
In Houston in 2017, when the Atlanta Falcons almost emerged with the Lombardi Trophy, a park next to the host hotel held nightly concerts – ZZ Top, Solange, Gary Clark Jr. and other artists with ties to the area performed - so a similar blueprint is expected to be followed for the Centennial Olympic Park concerts.
Of course, the most frequent question is, who is playing the Atlanta events? Well, patience, grasshopper.
Renzulli expects that names will be dropped in October – but possibly late September. The identity of the halftime performer is almost always concealed until November, with the full momentum of the NFL season.
So for now, take a listen to the recrafted “Welcome to Atlanta” anthem from Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris…which is certain to be played a few thousand times in early February.
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