Super Bowl weeks are always a very hectic time. If you are associated with the business of sports, there are more events than you could possibly have time to attend in that period of time. As you read through this summary, you will see the links embedded to the coverage of the various events provided by the Sports Philanthropy Network.
This past week in Atlanta, I was fortunate to participate in a whole variety of events giving me the opportunity to interact with a wide array of individuals from all across the country.
The weekend prior to the game, I was able to attend the NFL Experience at the Georgia World Congress with Kayla Bradham, who is joining the Sports Philanthropy Network as the VP of Community Relations. We had the opportunity to go through the exhibits and explore the venue in a much less crowded environment than you would see later in the week. One of the highlights was getting the chance to meet some of the team from RISE, Stephen Ross’ initiative getting its acronym from Ross Initiative for Sports Equality. As the owner of the Miami Dolphins, Ross has put his name on many things, including the University of Michigan Business School, but this is one that could make an every longer lasting impact.
The first couple days of the week are quieter as the schedule ramps up in anticipation of the crowds heading into the weekend. It was comical as the City of Atlanta prepared itself for a “winter storm.” The whole city was on high alert mode on Monday as it prepared for horrific conditions on Tuesday. The TV weather broadcasts warned everyone of impending doom. Schools were cancelled by Monday afternoon. The end result? A day with temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s. A sunny afternoon. Even the health club I managed to use to squeeze in a few workouts was telling me the facility might close because “the weather could change.”
One of the most interesting parts of the week was the ability to get press credentials which gave me access to many of the official NFL events and the various summits and educational seminars around time. It gave me some great insight into how the media work and the access they receive to all parts of the Super Bowl compound.
- WEDNESDAY: From my end, the week got kick started with a Women’s Empowerment Summit hosted by GladiatHers. Terrific messages from many powerful women. Well over 100 women attended and there were a surprising number of men also supporting the vision of GladiatHers.
- WEDNESDAY: From there, it was a quick run over to the Crucial Catch event held at the American Cancer Society HQ. A strong turnout of NFL representatives, team mascots, cheerleaders and former players led the way as the stations were set up to caution about various cancer risk factors and provide prevention suggestions.
- WEDNESDAY: The GladiatHers evening panel had some very frank conversations from leading women in the Atlanta sports community.
- THURSDAY: The Most Valuable Philanthropist event hosted by Champions for Philanthropy at the amazing venue called “The Estate.” Honoring some terrific players who have made a great impact in their community, this event really set a strong standard for other philanthropic events to follow.
- THURSDAY: RISE held their Town Hall Meeting at the King Center with a star-studded and impressive lineup taking the stage to push for social justice and significant reforms in the criminal justice system.
- THURSDAY: Very impressive event at the Porsche Experience, sponsored by AWIS (Atlanta Women in Sports). A terrific turnout and many great women leaders took the stage to accept their awards and talk about their motivations and the impact they desired to make.
- FRIDAY: The NFL Man of the Year Community event was held at the Boys and Girls Club. Attended by almost all of the Man of the Year nominees, this event featured Roger Goodell working the shovel and wheelbarrow and setting the lead example of hard work.
- FRIDAY: George Washington University’s Sports Philanthropy program hosted a networking Happy Hour for the many professionals in town for the Super Bowl and received a strong turnout of people making their career in the sports philanthropy space.
- FRIDAY: A special treat was an invitation to dinner by NFL Hall of Fame LB Rickey Jackson and getting the opportunity speak to him and Eric Dickerson during a late dinner.
- SATURDAY: Leigh Steinberg, Nicole Fisher and the Brain Treatment Foundation hosted a Brain Health Summit as a prelude to Leigh Steinberg’s annual party. The Summit had an insightful panel discussion that examined the difficulties of addressing the concussion problems on a practical level.
- SATURDAY: Leigh Steinberg’s party hosted over 2000 people crammed into the venue and the highlight was Patrick Mahomes taking home some of the awards and showing off his strong presence and command of the audience. Later that night, he took home the Player of the Year.
Unfortunately, I did not get to stay for the game. Aside from the ticket prices running well over $2,000, it was time to get back home after the two week trip for the Senior Bowl and the Super Bowl.
One thing that struck me as I walked around the streets of Atlanta during the week, was the dichotomy exhibited by homeless individuals asking for food or money, while literally a few yards away, party goers are entering into parties that whose tickets ranged in price from $200 to $1000+. I haven’t seen any reports on the total amount spent on parties during the week, but you can bet it is a large number.