Lessons from Two Super Bowl Executives: You’ve Got the Bid, Now What?

“You’ve Got the Bid, Now What?” with Tara Green and Allison Melangton

Tara Green and Allison Melangton served as back-to-back executive directors at Super Bowls held in Dallas (2011) and Indianapolis (2012). Both co-presented during today’s program for Certified Sports Event Executives at the 2013 Symposium hosted by the National Association of Sports Commissions.

They shared a 13-point checklist that event planners can use in preparing for any event from a bowling tournament to the Super Bowl.

1)      Vision: Get everyone on the same page with 13 check points

Indianapolis realized a $371 million economic impact from hosting the Super Bowl, which was impressive but it wasn’t the #1 goal of the Host City. Their overall goal was to leverage the influence of the international media that comes with the game to improve their community imaging and branding.

Indy also wanted to use the Super Bowl to drive talent recruitment and retention to brand the city as a cool place to work, live and play. Rounding out the community objectives were to drive community spirit and create a “community group hub” while creating legacy projects within the community.

2)      Goals: Do you have the same goals: The Host City and the Event?

Some of the major goals, an event and the host city will want to consider include:

  • Attendance Goals
  • Revenue Goals
  • Local Community Goals
  • Media Exposure
  • Economic Impact

A few goals that were met in Dallas include: the fund-raising of $38 million in two years to fund their Super Bowl with earned media impressions valued at $60 million.

3)      Expectations

What does the rights holder expect from your organization and your community? What does your community expect from the rights holder?

4)      Obligations: Understand all including gray areas!

Ask questions on the front end of the process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and no question is too small or silly.

5)      Responsibility for Event Success

It’s important to discuss responsibility early in the event planning process: Who is responsible for the success of the event? It is singular, shared or shared among groups.

This is important in sharing the success of the event or the challenges of the event. A shared approach is most commonly used among major events like the Super Bowl.

6)      Opportunities for Partnership:

Partnerships help increase the bandwidth and impact of programs, and engage community organizations based on their expertise.

7)      Potential Partners

Identify needs of the event and seek qualified partners such as universities, downtown organizations, civic groups, etc.

8)      Key Constituents are Key

It’s important to determine and engage volunteers, CVBs, politicians, etc. early in the process. Provide a manageable project or task that they can complete and celebrate their accomplishment.

9)      Community Leaders

Think about how who they are (outside of sport), how to engage them, communicate with them and determine cross pollination among the groups?

10)   Community Engagement: Traditional or Non-Traditional.

How can you expand community engagement beyond football fans? How can you engage the community in advance of the event as well as your corporate sponsors with meaningful opportunities and benefits?

11)   Plan for Measuring Success

Clarity is very important in how you will measure success.

12)   Community Strengths

Celebrate your assets around the event. Also, address your weaknesses head-on with creativity.

It’s important to set community objectives that mirror those of existing objectives of interest in the community. In Dallas, the goal was to rally 4500 kids to do 4500 hours of community learning in the Dallas region around the Super Bowl activities. This effort engaged families but also created media opportunities to share the progress of the planning.

13)   Identification of Risks

Indianapolis used the Enterprise Risk Management approach in their planning which was led by a committee of local risk management experts to facilitate a plan to determine all of the potential risks and how to mitigate them. All in all, 274 major risks were identified by the Indy Super Bowl Committee and each was prioritized among the working leadership committees to determine mitigation plans for each.


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2 Responses to “Lessons from Two Super Bowl Executives: You’ve Got the Bid, Now What?”

  1. Tammy Dunn Says:

    Great Session! Thank you for being the presenters! I learned alot!

  2. Crista Says:

    Great article, do you have the 13 check points listed in #2 to share?


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