Putting the Super in Bowl

Locally, we’re still in a bit of post-game Euphoria. We had scores of visitors from the Northern states places escaping the brutal grasp of winter cold while energetically supporting their home teams. Sea planes full of CEOs were flying overhead to scope available land and probably the abundance of golf. Downtown workers used more profanity during their commutes as they battled the detours.

Putting the Super in Bowl

Putting the Super in Bowl

Being selected to host the Super Bowl was euphoric on its own. The game was good albeit a blow for Seahawks fans. Katy Perry’s family friendly half-time show was superb and replete with dancing sharks (?!). Between commercials viewers got a glimpse of the Arizona crown jewel, our Grand Canyon. The statements about the economic benefits to AZ from the Bowl games and other events cannot be denied and should definitely be acknowledged and celebrated.

Yet, a recent New York Times article hit on something that merits further consideration. The article asks the question that beyond the Grand Canyon vistas or a downtown climbing wall modeled to look like the Grand Canyon, what would have caused you to know it wasn’t Cincinnati or Dallas or Denver or Atlanta? In other words, although the Superbowl was in Arizona, where was the Arizona in the Superbowl?

Not intending a rant on the NFL, I want to ask the question, “what structures are put in place causing every super bowl to be super dominated by national chains?” Sponsorships and expensive ones at that. Of course, they do require the local Superbowl committee to carve out and fundraise for local philanthropic efforts which although referred to by many as simply a diversion of funds, does, in fact benefit many locally based non-profits.

Could the call to action be a recognition that in order to put “Place” into the equation, the NFL or PGA or NCAA or MLB need to advance their models to be inclusive of local businesses as well? What if our local independent restaurants had received a schedule of events with suggestions about how to maximize their own opportunities; when to secure additional parking, decor, ideas for menu and drink promotions, and ideas about ways to collaborate with other locals? Envision going to a local pub for a drink special that comes with an opportunity to have your favorite player’s number shaved into your head by the barber next door? What type of ultimate AZ experience could be crafted that not only showed off a terrific independent hotel but that wrapped in our exciting local music scene and a traipse through the Desert Botanical Garden or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West?

Of course, the issue is that the sponsorship dollars fall behind the national brands and that is not unique to sports but as we call for other changes in national sports behaviors, perhaps this is one that could have a lasting impact. I envision hosting a future sporting event with abundant opportunities for our locally owned establishments to participate and for visitors to recognize and enjoy that our diverse and welcoming state has a story beyond cow skulls and golf. We want to put the Arizona into the event and we’re open for business!


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  1. Here is the URL to a comic strip that someone posted on Facebook. It totally summed up my feelings about these sports events.


    But I understand your point about involving the local businesses, and not pandering just to the big companies.

    Virtual hugs,


  2. Well said, Tammy!

  3. A few mariachis at half time wouldn’t have hurt. How about dancing Gila monsters rather than sharks?

  4. sports events bring amazing economic benefits to countries / cities. I saw this first hand when we hosted the Soccer World Cup 🙂

  5. It would be good to see small businesses benefiting from events like the Super Bowl and not just big chains. But…it’s a dilemma trying to work out how that’s possible. I know my little guy would love the look of that rock climbing wall xx

    • it is a dilemma to work out how that is possible. I was hoping that someone would offer up an idea here.

  6. Such good points. Do any local leaders have any say on how these things happen? Locally we heard complaining when the local restaurant closed early the night of a big wrestling tourney and there was no place for the parents to eat when it was over. Planning and communication sure helps in all things.

    • I agree and don’t you think that local owner might’ve stayed open if she’d known about the tournament? I like the prosperity for all model.

  7. I love the idea of including some “local color” in the Superbowl. We loved the Desert Museum in Tuscon and it looked totally exotic to we northerners.

    BTW my oldest (ASU grad) took my youngest (potential ASU student) for her college visit on Superbowl weekend. Due to inclement weather back home and canceled flights, they ended up staying an extra two days. Sure wish it had been me!

    • oh wow! You might end up with two here? That’s terrific. And the New American University is one hot place right now.

  8. I remember the Paralympics in Sydney – an amazing event. Sport can do a lot for people.


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