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Super Bowl ‘Shark Tank’: Local businesses pitch NFL looking for big score

Updated April 12, 2023 - 11:48 am

Select local businesses got the chance to pitch the NFL and area industry experts on why they’d be a hit to help ensure Super Bowl LVIII-related events in Las Vegas succeed.

The NFL Business Connect Pitch Day was held Tuesday at the Black Fire Innovation building where a panel of judges including those from the Raiders, UNLV, NFL and other business leaders received presentations from 51 local diverse companies.

Held in a Shark Tank-like format, each business was given five minutes to promote their brand, followed by a five-minute, question-and-answer session led by the panel.

About 50 NFL sanctioned events are planned so far for Super Bowl week, and dozens of others will be hosted by NFL sponsors and partners, resorts and celebrities. The Business Connect program will look to include around 200 local businesses to help with everything needed to put on an event, Las Vegas style, including staging, transportation, catering producing, lighting and decorating.

“We are hoping to get a little bit of clarity today about these 51 suppliers,” said David Waymer, NFL Business Connect program specialist. “We’re trying to get to know them more than just as an application. This is what takes you from a name on a paper to an actual person who works and lives in Las Vegas and represents this community.”

Raiders Chief Financial Officer Michael Crome, who is also a member of the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee’s executive committee, participated as judge for part of the day.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about their businesses and seeing how they’ll be a great fit for what we’re trying to build up for the Super Bowl,” Crome said. “We need people from all types of businesses that can come in and help us out with this. Not just the Sunday that is the Super Bowl, but even leading up to the Super Bowl.”

One local business pitching its services was Any Occasion Baskets. The woman-owned business promoted its gift package and floral arrangements to the panel of local industry experts. Felicia Parker, founder of Any Occasion Baskets, hopes for repeat success, after her win in the Raiders’ Small Business Showcase in 2021.

“This would be huge for our business,” Parker said. “It would take us to levels we haven’t been on yet. It would give us the exposure and the opportunity to work on a project of this magnitude. Being a minority, woman-owned business would be huge, just to show other women and minority-owned business owners that this is possible and you can do this.”

Parker said her 6-year-old company has a staff of four people. To be able to carry out the potential work needed to assist with Super Bowl-related events, she would like to grow her workforce to at least 10 people. She is already recruiting new employees in anticipation of being chosen for the Business Connect program.

The businesses chosen to take part in the program will be notified Monday. The NFL will then release its Business Connect resource guide in early May, which is also when NFL vendors will be in Las Vegas to start planning meetings for Super Bowl-related events. A series of networking events, diversity training sessions and professional development workshops will also occur in the coming months.

“They’ll hit the ground running,” Waymer said. “They’ll be looking for venues, all of the event producers and suppliers that will put on these events. They will build block by block this huge final product that ends up being Super Bowl.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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