The focus this NFL season is simple: Make it to Atlanta. That’s where Super Bowl 53 will take place on Feb. 3, 2019.
But Michael Zimmer on Wednesday night was already thinking ahead to 2020, when one of the biggest events in sports returns to his hometown of Miami.
That’s because the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, along with marketing agency Republica Havas, officially began the countdown to Super Bowl 54 — which also coincides with the NFL’s 100-year anniversary.
“This is a big event,” said Zimmer, the president of the host committee. “What we have to do is get the word out and remind people that the Super Bowl is coming up. For most people, they’re just looking at the next Super Bowl [in Atlanta], but we’re right behind it. As soon as Atlanta’s done, we’re up to bat.”
Republica Havas co-founder and president Luis Casamayor added: “Everybody has seen Super Bowls in the past. This is going to be nothing like it. Miami is going to be hosting something unprecedented.”
The city earned the right to host its record 11th Super Bowl back in 2016, when league owner approved of Miami’s nearly 600-page bid. It’s been non-stop work behind the scenes since then, Zimmer said.
“This really is truly a community effort,” Zimmer said to a crowd of about 100 at the countdown event. “... This is the launch for us to get the word out. I know Miami is a big event town and there’s a lot of things that go on here. We need to start getting the word out that it’s coming.”
And while specific parties and events for the week leading up to the big game are still being finalized, the creation of a Super Bowl Park along Biscayne Boulevard will transform the street into an interactive football field.
Spanning 54 acres and 14 blocks from the Intercontinental Hotel to the Perez Art Museum Miami, Super Bowl Park will allow visitors to explore Miami nightlife while also experiencing 100 years of NFL history for a week before the game kicks off.
The host committee plans to announce more by the start of next football season. The NFL will also start unveiling specifics plans it has in place for its 100-year anniversary in the coming months, Zimmer said.
“There’s so many parties. There’s so many things to do,” said Nat Moore, a former Dolphins wide receiver from 1974-1986 who now serves as the team’s senior vice president of special projects and alumni relations. “... Every corporation across America is looking to bring their clients, their customers, their employees to have a great time and to enjoy the hospitality of South Florida during the Super Bowl.”
Moore credited Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel and owner Stephen Ross for their efforts on the team side — namely the massive renovation at Hard Rock Stadium — to make sure Miami remains competitive in the bidding process.
“We’re back in the game,” Moore said. “We know that as long as we’re in the game, we’re going to prevail because there’s no better place than Miami. ... Everyone loves coming to South Florida.”