Houston may be the official host city of Super Bowl LI, but Katy is considering its own plans to potentially benefit from the estimated more than 1 million attendees expected to converge on the Greater Houston area next year.
About 1.1 million people attended events associated with Super Bowl 50 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he expects the same number of visitors, if not more, to attend the event in Houston in 2017.
The Super Bowl Host Committee is in active discussions with nearby cities to determine what types of events they can host and what the economic benefits will be, said Hasting Stewart, the committee’s executive vice president of public affairs. The host committee wants to engage neighboring communities to help showcase the city’s overlooked qualities.
“One thing we’re excited about is showcasing there’s a lot that’s changed in Houston since it hosted the game in 2004,” Stewart said. “We’re a growing, innovative, culturally diverse and exciting city. We’re more than just an energy town.”
Kayce Reina, director of marketing and tourism for the city of Katy, said city officials are pondering ideas for possible events in the city in order to draw travelers to hotels in the Katy area.
“Usually January is a month of the year that is a slow month [for events],” Reina said. “We want to see if we could have some kind of local Katy event—to do something in addition to the Super Bowl that would incentivize travelers to stay in Katy. It may behoove us to put something together for those travelers.”
Turner and other city officials met with their counterparts in San Francisco during this year’s Super Bowl to observe and ask questions in preparation for next year. An economic survey will occur over the next several months to determine the impact for Houston, Stewart said.
Stewart highlighted the opening of downtown’s Discovery Green in 2008, the expected completion of the redesigned George R. Brown Convention Center and the planned October completion of the Marriott Marquis in downtown as features that will help enhance the overall experience for game attendees.
Fans will be able to attend a free 10-day festival called Super Bowl Central that will serve as a display for Houston culture, food and businesses, Stewart said.
One of the easiest ways for the city to introduce visitors to the best of Houston will be through the host committee’s volunteer force, Stewart said. Upward of 10,000 volunteers are needed to help guide guests.
“We are looking for the best and brightest across Houston to showcase the best of the city and make sure folks visiting have a wonderful experience,” Stewart said.
Additional reporting by Jeff Forward