Businesses across the playing field of Arizona are poised to partake in another Super Bowl economic bonanza.

Obviously, beverage, automotive and food juggernauts are going to bank on huge profits, name recognition and marketing buzz, thanks to the game. But how can local businesses get their share? It’s simple: Just ask.
For more than a decade, the National Football League has made it a priority to include local and regional businesses in the big game. It established the Emerging Business Program to educate and provide business opportunities to minority- and women-owned businesses in the host city and state. This year, in true NFL style, the Emerging Business Program is presented locally by Salt River Project.

According to the NFL, the program aims to provide increased procurement opportunities — both short- and long-term — to small, minority- and women-owned businesses.

“The goal is simple,” says Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s vice president of Emerging Business and Outreach. “We want to facilitate the participation of women- and minority-owned businesses to be involved in the wonderful business opportunity presented by the NFL and the Super Bowl. Locally, the response has been overwhelming.”

Offered by the NFL since 1994, the program encourages local businesses to engage in the economic boon that follows the Super Bowl from city to city each year. Available to any certified minority and small business operation, the Emerging Business Program has been successful in affording businesses the chance to be involved with one of sports’ biggest productions in the nation.

Locally, Choo Tay is ready. So is Steve Cortez. Both are small business owners in the Valley poised to capitalize not only on the more immediate impact of the big game, but also on building long-term relationships whose roots are tied to the Super Bowl. In fact, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Mike Kennedy says more than 200 local businesses have expressed interest in the program, “a testament to the quality game atmosphere we provide,” he adds.

Tay’s Web site and integrated marketing firm, media88, was founded in 1995. Her interactive media, online event management and Web-based solutions company is no stranger to the business of sports.

“One of our earliest projects was the design and hosting of the cheerleaders link of the Super Bowl XXX Web site,” notes Tay, referring to the last time the big game rolled into the Valley in 1996. “Since then, we’ve continued to grow and adapt along with the industry. We are thrilled to be part of 2008.”

Like any savvy businessman, when Cortez, owner and operator of Cortez Visual Communications, heard Glendale would be hosting the event, he immediately saw it as a perfect way to showcase his company, which offers innovative vehicle wraps, banners and posters.

“I believe the work we are doing for the Super Bowl will open many doors for us,” he says. “It will allow other large or small corporations and professional sports teams to see us at our best. Future customers will be happy to know that we are capable of doing high-quality work for some of the biggest companies in the nation.”

That’s the exact purpose of the program.

“This is our Super Bowl,” Rodriguez says. “This is not only Arizona’s chance to shine, but for our local businesses to share as well. As they say, it’s a win-win.”