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

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.


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