The NFL just kicked off and the Houston Texans are 1-0! The road to Super Bowl LI feels like light years away, but for the city of Houston preparation began well before today. The country's biggest sporting event is set to come back to NRG Stadium for the second time in the stadium's history. Let's take a quick look at how the city is handling the return of the game 13 years later.
The last time the game was held here, many critics were harsh on both the transit and accommodations for guests traveling to the city. With an event activities spanning a total of 10 days, the city has looked to make major improvements. In 2004 the city had 44,000 hotel rooms, but according to Houston Chronicle the city has since upgraded to a whopping 84,000 rooms! This obviously means a lot less commuting for people that would have once been subjected to the outskirts of the city. In addition, the Houston Light-Rail system has since doubled in size from 7.2 miles to 15.2 miles of track. This will allow transit across the city for various events to be much easier.
The Super Bowl has sparked major projects to be approved and completed in time for the big game. Projects such as Midtown Park, and the Marriott Maquis Downtown would likely have not been put into place without the big game. However, it's not always the big time companies that rake in the benefits. Small business owners will be licking their chops come February. NFL Business Connect is a popular organization that tries to link small businesses that are at least 51 percent-run by women, minorities, disabled veterans or LGBT people with contractors in Super Bowl host cities. So far 412 subcontractors have been signed on through the program, thus creating brand awareness at the highest of all stages! At the bare minimum businesses such as restaurants, bars, and lounges will be flooded with tourists or party-goers for 10 days. This will be an ultimate time for these establishments to put on their best performances, and really rack up some positive Yelp reviews.
Expect the George R. Brown Center, Midtown, Washington Avenue, and the Galleria to be at chaotic levels! The last time the game was here, a lot of the events were sorted only to the NRG Stadium area. With Houston upgrading much of its inner-city regions since that time, this next attempt promises to be more widespread. With all the hype, the money, and the chaotic nature of this game, it will be here and gone before we know it. If Houston plays their cards right they will further put the city on the map, and leave the critiquing strictly to football.