Detroit – On November 1, 2000, the NFL awarded Super Bowl XL to Detroit. The Motor City was suddenly in the spotlight, on the world’s largest stage. From that moment on, there was both criticism about the site and skepticism that Detroit could pull it off, due to a host of infrastructure challenges ranging from transportation to housing and from weather to entertainment. What can trade show organizers learn from Detroit’s experience? In the weeks ahead, Trade Show Executive magazine will present a series of reports on the people, the strategies and the creativity that transformed the Motor City into a first-class venue for this super-sized event which ended up generating worldwide acclaim from the media and attendees.
You’ll be able to glean ideas from those who had key roles in Detroit’s revival, from Susan Scherer who was the brains behind the glitzy presentation that won Detroit the bid to host Super Bowl XL; to the legendary Roger Penske, racing/trucking/dealership mogul who won 13 Indy 500s, and who as chairman of Detroit’s Super Bowl Host committee was always thinking a “couple of laps ahead;” and Larry Alexander, President of the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, who was the “quarterback” that led to Detroit’s downtown revival. Their flair in building and executing the master plan for transportation, housing, special events, entertainment, crowd control and coordinating thousand of volunteers plus their dealing with budget overruns and weather challenges, has lessons for all those who organize large scale events, depend on many volunteers, and deal with infrastructure challenges.