Friday, January 31, 2014

On Ice Storms, Super Bowls and Omaha!

By Jim Vaughan, Senior Fellow

Listening to CNN report on Winter Storm Leon, the ice and snow event that shut down the city of Atlanta on January 28-29, reminded me of the ice storm that affected events leading up to the Atlanta’s second Super Bowl in 2000.

It seems that while snow and ice are unusual occurrences in the Georgia capital, they aren’t as rare as you might think. The 2000 storm made it difficult for fans to get downtown for the NFL Experience and other parties and events and likely resulted in Atlanta ranking No. 10 among the 15 cities that have hosted the Super Bowl.

So cross off “warm and sunny” from the list of advantages Atlanta will tout when the city bids for the 2019 Super Bowl—the first that the new retractable-roof stadium for the Atlanta Falcons will be eligible to host. This week’s storm will likely require that Atlanta’s bid include a snow and ice contingency plan!

Of course, the jury is out on the NFL’s decision to present the Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather locale. But at least one cold-weather city is cashing in on the game: Omaha.

When the Greater Omaha Chamber and others in Omaha noticed that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was shouting “Omaha! Omaha!” at the line of scrimmage, they moved quickly to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Chamber produced a video love-note to Denver, reports the Omaha World-Herald. Showing quick-changing Omaha scenes over a musical background, the 30-second video starts with the scribbling of what looks like the chart of a football play.

"You have to be set before every great play," a narrator says. "We know 'Omaha' works for Peyton. It works for us, too."

Chamber President David Brown was featured in an All Things Considered segment on NPR.

“We're always trying to promote the fact that we're a great city with great quality of life and cost of living and great jobs and those kind of good things,” Brown said. “So when an opportunity like this presents itself, it just adds to our ability to kind of build our brand out there for people and companies that might be looking for a place that they could invest or have a career.”

But back to Winter Storm Leon—Market Street’s Katie Bass wins the crazy commute award for walking the last five miles home on Tuesday night. And irony of ironies, Alex Pearlstein reports from Des Moines: “It’s warm and dry up here in the snowbelt.”