The Super Bowl will be played in Atlanta for the third time on Feb. 3, 2019. Earlier this month, the NFL sent about 200 representatives here for four days of planning meetings. Here’s an update on the preparations, less than eight months from the big game.
NO SHORTAGE OF VOLUNTEERS
The Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee said 2 ½ months ago it was seeking to recruit about 10,000 people to serve in a variety of volunteer roles, mostly during a 10-day stretch leading to the game. So far, almost 25,000 people have applied, said Brett Daniels, the host committee’s chief operating officer.
“That is great,” Daniels said, “because we know throughout the process that number will come down as we start trying to line up interviews and conduct interviews and do background checks to make sure we’re selecting the right, qualified, energetic, enthusiastic volunteers.”
The on-line application process will remain open through July at atlsuperbowl53.com/volunteer. In-person interviews will be conducted in July and August. If you’re wondering how the host committee can interview so many applicants, Daniels said 475 volunteer “captains” – mostly people with a track record of volunteering with other Atlanta events – have been selected to help handle that process.
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Volunteer roles will include assisting with host-committee events and welcoming visitors or answering their questions. Volunteers won’t work inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium on game day – and won’t get access to Super Bowl tickets.
LINING UP ANCILLARY EVENTS
Plans are taking shape for several major ancillary events that will precede Super Bowl LIII.
“We feel really good about our plans as we sit here in June,” Peter O’Reilly, NFL senior vice president of events, said last week, “and now it’s about innovating and getting smarter and making sure those plans come to life.”
Super Bowl Live, a free 10-day fan festival with concerts, fireworks and other activities, will be held in Centennial Olympic Park.
Super Bowl Experience, an eight-day indoor theme park, will be held in the Georgia World Congress Center.
Super Bowl Opening Night, formerly known as Media Day and now a ticketed prime-time event, is planned for Jan. 28 in Philips Arena.
NFL Honors, the league’s nationally televised awards show that recognizes the season’s best players and performances, will be held at the Fox Theatre on Feb. 2, the day before the game.
ASKED AND ANSWERED
Q: What are the top priorities for the Atlanta host committee in the next month or so?
A: “For our group, it’s starting to detail out plans,” Daniels said Wednesday. “We’ll be working closely on the transportation side with the airport and making sure we are ready for team arrivals … and working with public safety here on downtown street closures, parking, bus staging areas, that layer of detail. We’ll be working with the stadium and the Congress Center on details of the secured perimeter (that will be in force around those venues for about 10 days starting in late January).”
LOOKING FOR TICKETS?
The NFL hasn’t – and won’t – put Super Bowl tickets on sale to the general public at face value, leaving hospitality packages or the secondary market as the likeliest options for many who want to attend the game.
The league’s official hospitality partner, On Location Experiences, is currently selling pricey premium packages that bundle game tickets with other perks. The packages, which are being marketed to fans and corporate clients, range from $5,000 to $17,500.
The top-end package includes a 50-yard-line club seat, a pregame party, in-game access to the stadium’s fanciest club and post-game access to the field for the trophy presentation.
AND ABOUT THE ROOF...
O’Reilly reiterated that the NFL would like to play the Super Bowl with Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s retractable roof open if the weather is favorable – a big if for early February. Memories of the ice storm that preceded the 2000 Super Bowl here loom over preparations for this game.
The roof, which has been closed for all but three events in the stadium, recently was open continuously for about 10 days as part of what the Falcons organization called the final phase of work on its automation. The organization hasn’t provided an update on the progress since the roof was re-closed last week.
O’Reilly said the NFL staff will watch the roof in operation at Falcons games in the fall.
“We certainly hope for good weather (on Super Bowl weekend) and the opportunity to have the roof open for the game,” he said.
> “Road to the Super Bowl” updates will appear periodically.