Big Easy Super Bowl attraction crowds fall short of Indy's

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The NFL Experience, a Super Bowl-related event held in New Orleans this year, didn’t draw half as many visitors as it did in Indianapolis last year.

National Football League officials said 90,000 people attended the NFL Experience in downtown New Orleans last week. That paled in comparison to the 265,000 that streamed into the interactive attraction last year at the Indiana Convention Center.

Last year’s mark shattered the previous attendance record by more than 30 percent, according to the NFL. The previous NFL Experience attendance record was set in Glendale, Ariz., in 2008.

This year, the NFL Experience was open Wednesday through Saturday before the Super Bowl. That’s three fewer days than the event was open leading up to last year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis, which explains some of the disparity in attendance.

“Indy had an additional weekend,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

But even without the additional days, attendance at this year’s NFL Experience wouldn’t have touched attendance in Indianapolis.

According to NFL officials, a record 42,238 attended the NFL Experience on the first Saturday the attraction was open last year and another 42,156 on Sunday. All told, 100,563 people visited the attraction at the Indiana Convention Center in the first three days it was open.

“We had a tremendous number of local people who were interested in being a part of the Super Bowl and attending attractions like the NFL Experience,” said Allison Melangton, CEO of Indianapolis’ Super Bowl host committee. “There’s no doubt that really helped our attendance.”

Attendance here got a boost last year because it was the first Super Bowl Indianapolis had hosted, league officials said. This year marked New Orleans’ 10th Super Bowl.

Though final numbers aren’t yet available, NFL officials don’t think New Orleans’ Super Bowl-style village, called Super Bowl Boulevard, attracted nearly as many people as Indianapolis’ Super Bowl Village did in 2012. Last year, 1.1 million people strolled through Indianapolis’ Super Bowl Village over a 10-day period.

New Orleans’ Super Bowl Boulevard was open for four days. Big Easy host committee officials projected attendance at the 800,000-square-foot attraction in Woldenberg Park along the Mississippi River to be near 500,000.



  • Location, location, location
    I think the main reason Indy drew so many people is that it was the first super bowl in the midwest. I met a lot of people from Chicago, Columbus, Cincy, and Louisville that took the "short" drive to Indy to be a apart of the NFL festivities. I would venture to guess that there are not a lot of people driving 2-3 hours to spend the day at the NFL experience in NO, Phoenix, Miami, or Tampa. Plus it was RIGHT there next to the game site. No one had to drive all over town to see all the sites. It will be intersting to see what the NFL experience draws in NY/NJ next year since that is a huge market to draw from. Just to brag: Indy does conventions and sports better than anyone and we tax them more too!
  • Not so clean
    Yea, I totally agree. When the Nola host committee was in Indy a year ago, they mentioned how clean the city was. That's one of the major issues that Nola faces when it comes to hosting big events. Here's an article I found, http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/06/14/the-ten-dirtiest-cities-in-america-new-orleans-tops-the-list/
  • NOLA
    I’ve been to New Orleans a number of times, although never during a Super Bowl. And, yeah, that city can be a lot of fun. The French Quarter is someplace that everyone should visit at least once. But, you would be ill-advised to travel anywhere else in that city. For the most part, NO is a crime-ridden, disgusting, cesspool. It is rapidly rotting away; it’s downtown area is dead; it’s ugly; it’s dangerous. I’m glad that I’ve been there and experienced the French Quarter. But, would I want to return to New Orleans for a Super Bowl? Absolutely not. It’s a dump.
    • Comparing NOLA to Indy? Good Lord
      This is an incredibly misleading article that would appear to have been written by the PR team for the Indy Super Bowl Host Committee. Has the author ever been to NOLA? Does he have any concept of the what the city is like? Of course the "NFL Experience" and Boulevard drew less than that in Indy--there are 10,000 other things to see and do than spend $25 to throw footballs into tires at the convention center. That's not a shot at Indy, but please, let's be real. There is no comparison between the 2 cities. You think that people are attending the NFL Experience when this game is held at South Beach? Good Lord, no--and the same is true in NOLA. Good luck competing against NOLA in 2018--you're going to need it.
      • crime in NOLA vs Indy
        The very notion of comparing crime in Indianapolis to New Orleans is beyond absurd. Indy's crime doesn't even approach New Orleans--a city that has a homicide virtually every day, despite having about one-third the population of Indy.
      • Mardi Gras
        I would like to reiterate, it is Mardi Gras. My family went to the parades. We let the tourist have the run of the town. Indy is awesome. I love it. But tourists come to Nola with a lot of places to see or old haunts to visit. Heck they too might have went to a parade. We through a free mini Jazz Fest and many of the known music clubs were putting up many shows. Both events were awesome. Just 2 different sets of circumstances. Come on down we would love to see you.
      • compare
        The fact that this was Indy's 1st super bowl, vs 10th for New Orleans, had a lot to do with the attendance. Locals are much more likely to show up for the 1st vs 10th. Also may not have had quite the draw if not for the record warm temps last year in Indy.
      • you do have that race and all
        Cher, you do know it's Mardi Gras, right?
      • Como Esta?
        It is unanimous, he (or she) has a problem/is intoxicated as the commenters here have agreed...I can think of a lot of things I would do if I went back to New Orleans (Jazz Fest, Tipitina's, Bombay Club, Preservation Hall, Bullets, the Jazz Playhouse, Candlelight Lounge and about 20 different restaurants...Pat O'Briens might not be the last place I would go to, but no one who knows anything about New Orleans would tell you to go there)...the only way I can defend poor Esta is if you visit there from May to October, it is so hot and humid all you can do for relief is sit somewhere cool and drink. Makes our summers (even last years) look like March in Minnesota. It is a great town with an amazing history, but it has a ton of crime and corruption (not that we have escaped that in Indy lately), it is unbelievably hot in the long summer, and it ends up underwater every now and then, miracle of engineering that the levees are notwithstanding...I would recommend a visit there to anyone, there is no place like it...but for living and working, I will take Indy anytime
      • Reason for Esta
        There IS a reason why you'd rather have a Hurricane in the Piano Bar at Pat O'Briens just off Bourbon Street. This is an online INTERVENTION Esta. We all think you may have a drinking problem.
      • ESTA...Who DAT
        Esta, You say there is nothing to do in Indy, but you say, in New Orleans, you would sit your butt in a bar and drink....Aren't you able to sit in bars and drink in Indianapolis? Oh, and I love the Colts, but stating that they are better than New England is showing that you probably know more about drinking than sports. Hey, I bet there are bars in New England that you could sit and drink at!! Suggestion--move if you do not like it here....CO COLTS!!
      • Proud of Indy!
        I have heard numberous commments regarding what a "friendly" city Indy is, also. I think this was a huge factor in what made the Super Bowl here one of the best ever. I heard people saying it then and I heard a teacher from California during a Science teacher convention say it. Let's face it. Indy is one of the best hosts of any event in the world and the people both government people and every day people here are what make it that way. Everyone should be very proud of Indy! And we should be proud of the Electricians and Power company here for making sure everything came off without a hitch!
      • Complex
        An what's with the inferiority complex, Indy? Colts are better than Pats and Steelers, even though fewer rings. Indy car is better than NASCAR's taxi cab races, even if you have to tune into the Oxygen Channel to watch it. We hosted the greatest Super Bowl ever. Just say, "We had a great time hosting the Super Bowl and we'd love to do it again." Comes across kind of petty otherwise, just like this article.
      • Reason
        Maybe that's because there is nothing else to do in Indianapolis? What would you rather do, wait in line to throw footballs through a tire on Georgia Steet, or have a Hurricane in the Piano Bar at Pat O'Briens just off Bourbon Street? I know which number I'd rather be in.

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