February 4, 2013

UNO Gets in the Game During Super Bowl XLVII

People from across the University of New Orleans spectrum took part in Super Bowl week, including the spectacular halftime show during yesterday’s game.

Super Bowl XLVII took place at the Louisiana Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Feb. 3. Researchers from the UNO Division of Business and Economic Research helped the city of New Orleans to secure its bid to serve as host. Media continue to cite "the overall economic impact of the game on the city―about $423 million, according to the University of New Orleans," as The Times-Picayune cited last week. Economist Janet Speyrer continues to serve as a sought-after content expert as final impacts and profits are tallied―ensuring that the city, businesses and residents receive meaningful and accurate data.

On Wednesday, more than 75 UNO student-athletes and coaches converged on the NFL Experience at the Ernest V. Morial Convention Center. The NFL Experience―a temporary “theme park” set up within the convention center―featured clinics and interactive games, as well as autograph sessions with NFL players and exhibits showcasing the league’s history.

Privateer athletes and coaches stood stationed at various activity stations around the complex and provided assistance to participants while ensuring a safe environment and making certain that physical activity and the NFL’s Play 60 campaign were positively promoted, said Jason Plotkin, spokesman for UNO athletics. NFL Play 60 is the National Football League's campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.

Wednesday was the opening day of the NFL Experience and the Privateers had an opportunity to provide some of the first impressions on people visiting New Orleans, coaches said.

“Our volleyball players were excited to be involved with the NFL Experience,” said Kim Young-Buford, UNO women’s volleyball head coach. “Our girls like to be active when they get involved in the community, particularly working alongside with children. They were able to see the expressions on the participants’ faces and that is just priceless. It was a rewarding experience for our program to represent the University.”

Several days later, the UNO women’s golf team took part in the city’s first-ever “Super Saturday of Service,” hosted by the Super Bowl Host Committee on the eve of Super Bowl XLVII. The community initiative was designed to showcase collaboration between the Host Committee, NFL, City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), Young Leadership Council, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Young Professionals and the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity that provides improvements to five NORDC playgrounds and their surrounding neighborhoods.

Having a direct impact on the local community is a major focus of the NFL, which provided more than $1 million in matching grant funds and worked for several months with the City of New Orleans, NORDC and the NORD Foundation to plan the Super Saturday of Service. Aims were to renovate and beautify five NORDC playgrounds and facilities, as well as make improvements on the NFL Youth Education Town, a leave-behind education center for youth from the NFL.

The Privateer golfers sanded and painted all the light posts at Palmer Park on Carrollton Avenue. The team also assisted with landscaping at the park, one of five around the city to get touched up with an estimated $2 million worth of improvements.

Then, the opportunity of a lifetime: the University’s Orientation Leaders, members of Student Government, members of the UNO women’s basketball team and other student leaders participated in the nationally televised Super Bowl halftime concert featuring Beyonce.

The Lady Privateers, Orientation Leaders and other student leaders practiced several times in the run-up to the event, in which they performed choreographed moves around the stage as Beyonce reunited with Destiny’s Child, said Keeshawn Carter, UNO women’s basketball coach.

“The girls had an opportunity of a lifetime to perform with Beyonce,” Carter said. “Those who participated enjoyed the experience, coming together with people from around the country. The group that we were in had people from as far as away from North Carolina, that drove 14 hours to be in New Orleans. We bonded with people from other places and had a chance to see what billions of people watched on TV up close. I was happy to share this experience with our team and hopefully if the Super Bowl comes back in 2018, we can volunteer for someone else’s show!”

Read more about two UNO professors who served among 32 special hosts for NFL team leaders during Super Bowl XLVII, as part of the NFL’s Team Liaison Program. Read the article in UNO in the News >>