With the 2022 Super Bowl in the rear view mirror, pro football’s attention turns to Glendale, where preparations to host the 2023 Super Bowl already have started.
“It looks like it all happens in a week, but we can attest that it takes months and years to get ready to host this phenomenal event,” Jay Parry, president and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, told Cronkite News in an interview before the 2022 game at Sofi Stadium.
Parry discussed the preparations that go into making a Super Bowl successful, from operations and logistics to ongoing planning meetings with the NFL throughout the year. This will be Parry’s second go-round in helping Arizona host the Super Bowl, as she was the CEO of the Arizona host committee in 2015.
“We have a lot of continuity there (from 2015), that will help us move ahead more quickly and hopefully have a greater impact,” Parry said.
Next year’s game will be Arizona’s fourth Super Bowl since 1996, when the hometown Cardinals still were playing in ASU Sun Devil Stadium. Glendale has hosted two Super Bowls at State Farm Stadium, the second in 2015, when a late interception gave New England the win over Seattle (that nailbiter remains the most viewed Super Bowl of all time, with 114.4 million viewers, according to Statista). Glendale will be the only location to host the Super Bowl twice in the past 10 years.
“We are just kind of well-known that we know how to do it and we just have this unbelievable hospitality community around,” Parry said, when asked why State Farm Stadium is such a popular place to play the Super Bowl.
In addition to Super Bowls in 2008 and 2015, State Farm Stadium, formerly University of Phoenix Stadium, has hosted two National College Football Championship games and the 2017 NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship, according to the stadium’s website.
The morning after this year’s Super Bowl, the host committee spoke at the ceremonial handoff news conference in Los Angeles.
“We’re ready for the world stage and we’re ready to show the world what we’re capable of doing,” said Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald Jr., who was named executive chair of the committee on Jan. 24.
The wide receiver, who played 17 seasons for the Cardinals, leads the franchise in games played (263), receiving yards (17,492), receptions (1,432) and touchdowns (121). He also won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award in 2017 for his excellence on and off the field. Fitzgerald also became a minority owner of the Phoenix Suns in 2020.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also took part in the Feb. 14 news conference, noting one advantage Arizona has over California: Arizona has legalized sport betting, while California still is debating it.
“Last year, we modernized our gaming compact amendment, which means visitors can place bets on Super Bowl 2023 and other sports in Arizona,” Ducey said. Next year’s big game will be the first to take place in a state with legalized sports betting.
In the first two months of legalized betting, Arizona handled $777 million in wagers.
“We also look forward to seeing the Cardinals get home field advantage in the big game next year,” the governor added, referring to the past two Super Bowls, which both were won by the home team: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams.
Story by Adrian Bascope, Cronkite News