GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Super Bowl torch was handed off from California to Arizona on Monday, the day after Super Bowl Sunday, for next year's big game at State Farm Stadium.
The hand-off was complete with a ceremony put on by the Super Bowl Host Committee. Now, the Valley is officially on the clock to host Super Bowl LVII in 2023.
It will be Arizona’s fourth time hosting the big game. The first was in 1996 in Tempe and the rest have been in Glendale. This is welcome news for fans and the community who are already preparing, like Carlos Aponte from Litchfield Park.
"I watch it every year, and I’m a big fan of football," he said. "It’s pretty crazy because I mean, it gets super packed here, you know what I mean? Everybody’s out here tailgating. It’s exciting. There's the Super Bowl experience, so I’m definitely excited to go, and I hope I get to."
This is also good news for the local economy.
Shannon Kiner, a bartender in Glendale says, "Super excited for all of it. There’s so many ideas that we’re going to end up doing. There’s so many back and forth, but at the end of the day, we know it’s going to be huge."
In 2008, the Super Bowl in Arizona saw 90,000 out-of-state visitors, generating an economic impact of $500 million. In 2015, more than 120,000 people came out, generating more than $720 million.
2023's game is expected to have an even bigger impact, which will give a huge boost to the state, local businesses outside State Farm Stadium.
Organizers and businesses are already brainstorming ideas to tackle the crowds.
"Honestly it’s just crazy to talk about how much people are willing to spend on Super Bowl from out of town. From locals, the amount of money to be made will be there so we are definitely excited business wise and it’s an experience."
At Monday's handoff, representatives from the Los Angeles host committee will hand over the 2023 Super Bowl responsibilities to the Arizona host committee, which includes Governor Doug Ducey, Chairman of the Arizona Cardinals Michael Bidwill, among others.
"The Super Bowl is a force multiplier for economic development in Arizona," says Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Jan. 24 at an event to showcase what's in store for Arizona in 2023.
The committee is the same team that led the 2015 effort.
"We know more of what to expect, so our planning is more efficient, more streamlined," said Jay Parry with the Super Bowl LVII host committee.
The committee unveiled its new logo and says Arizona Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald is on the board this time. The last time Arizona hosted the game, the committee says it was the most profitable ever, bringing in $700 million in economic impact.
For ground crews, Super Bowl LVII will be a homecoming of sorts
Come 2023, the big game will serve as a homecoming of sorts for some of the crew members that get the field ready.
For Brian Johnson, he made Arizona State University's field sparkle on game day for decades, and a life-changing opportunity came his way in 1996, when Arizona hosted the Super Bowl for the first time.
"Normally, they don’t have the crew at the stadium help too much," Johnson recounted. "They have their own crew, but they needed some help that year."
That's when Johnson and his friend (as well as co-worker) Pete Wozniak stepped in.
"It was the right place at the right time, but we each had the skill set that they liked, and they asked us back every year," said Johnson.
Now, they help with groundskeeping every year, including in Los Angeles for 2022's Super Bowl.
"The Super Bowl just has that little extra something to it," said Johnson.
As for Johnson's favorite part of the game, it's hard to nail down.
"It's all that put together: the pre-game pageantry, the game itself, the halftime show, the post game," said Johnson. "Seeing families come down to meet their loved ones on the field and the joy on their faces, is pretty cool."
The Super Bowl grounds team is filled with Arizonans, so come 2023, crew members should be ready.
"We’re all good friends, and we all love Arizona, and we all want our game – our hometown game – to be special," said Johnson.
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