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Vegas group getting head start on hosting 2024 Super Bowl

Updated February 9, 2023 - 7:19 pm

PHOENIX — Planning to host a Super Bowl in a city is not a small task. The planning takes more than a year and includes a small army of staff to pull it off.

Around 50 members of the Las Vegas Super Bowl Committee and its 11 subcommittees have been in the Phoenix area for more than a week, meeting with various media partners, the NFL and Phoenix officials, to get an up-close view of what it takes to host the big game.

On Wednesday, Sam Joffray, who was brought on to be the committee’s president and CEO, met with media outlets at their booth inside the Phoenix Convention Center, where the NFL Fan Experience, the media center and radio row are located and the NFL Honors event was to be held.

He’s been involved in 25 consecutive Super Bowls, giving him the experience needed to head the committee, composed of notable Las Vegas executives, including from the Raiders, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Allegiant Air.

“This has been day three of our effort to … get a head start on some of the operations and logistics planning,” Joffray said. “We’re balancing between our committee members and our staff, manning a booth in our media center, pitching stories, doing interviews and talking about everything Vegas has to offer, to set the stage for next year.”

From the convention center Joffray traveled 12 miles to Scottsdale to visit with ESPN officials to get an idea of what they would need to set up their set that’s used for their various shows, including SportsCenter and NFL Live for Super Bowl week.

ESPN’s set is at the end of Main Street in the Old Town area of Scottsdale, which is flanked by local businesses on both sides, with live music and activities planned for five days during the week. The free entry event allows fans to enjoy the build-up to the Super Bowl, while being able to watch the various ESPN shows live.

The location where ESPN will have their set in Las Vegas is still to be determined, with producers set to visit the city in the coming months to nail down their preferred spot.

“We’re taking advantage of the time to also meet with NFL staff and broadcasters, looking at their different footprints and size sets they have and back-of-house stuff they need throughout the week,” Joffrey said.

Committee members and staff are also attending various events that surround Super Bowl week to get a feel for what Las Vegas venues will be the best fit for each of those.

“Looking at the attendance sizes and seeing how things are bouncing back after Covid,” Joffray said. “Last year was the first non-Covid year. So we’re seeing that growth from year-to-year and we’re collecting those data points for next year.”

The planning involves a mix of the league, broadcasters and the Super Bowl committee providing their ideas and finetuning those to land at the perfect spot.

“It’s a lot like being a wedding planner,” Joffray said. “The bride knows what she wants, but she might not know what’s the best way to do it. We find out from the event owner or broadcaster or the NFL themselves of what the core requirements are and we present them with options.”

At the end of the day, Joffrey said, those entities make their own decisions, “but we like to guide them to not just what’s best for them, but the long-term success of the event.”

That includes everything from infrastructure to logistics.

“You can’t decide to put an event somewhere without having thought it through the host committee to make sure it’s going to work on all levels,” Joffray said. “The transportation and parking plans tie into it, how the volunteers get to it. There are so many things that come into play. Somebody has to have their eye on all the balls.”

After the Super Bowl concludes in Arizona, the committee members and staff will meet to share what they learned from their various meetings and will get started on finalizing the plans for Super Bowl LVIII next year.

“When we get back to Vegas, we will start to digest everything,” Joffray said. “We have these individual committee meetings every month to have the best experts in Vegas in those areas of specialty, present them with what we’re learning and get their advice.”

After this week in Phoenix, Joffrey said, for the committee members, “It’s not just Sam saying here’s what to expect. They’ve now seen it and they know exactly what’s happening.”

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

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