Each year, the Super Bowl brings thousands of jobs and can generate anywhere from $230 million to $475 million in economic impact. But who benefits from an international event of this size? Oftentimes it is not the local community or the small businesses who really need it. However, the NFL and the Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee (LASEC) were determined to have SBLVI drive lasting social and cultural change, and deliver a positive economic impact to the areas that needed it most. They are achieving this through two community-based initiatives: the Super Bowl LVI Business Connect program and the Legacy Program, both of which use the Super Bowl to spotlight some of the great work being carried out across the LA community.
SoFi Stadium, the home of Super Bowl LVI, is located in Inglewood, California, which is a far cry from the glitz of Hollywood and the glamor of Beverly Hills. With a population of 107,762 people, Inglewood is the 55th largest community in California, with the majority of its residents employed as service providers, sales and office workers, and professionals. The ethnically-diverse city is home to a variety of racial and ethnic groups, with over 50 percent of people are of Hispanic or Latino origin.
Maintaining that diversity and giving back to the community has been important to Stan Kroenke and the LA Rams ever since they first broke ground to construct the world’s most expensive stadium on the former site of the Hollywood Park Racetrack. Now that Kroenke’s dream has come to fruition and his $5.5 billion stadium is hosting the crown jewel of the NFL on Feb. 13, it’s time to reiterate that pledge from a league level.
When asked at the recent “30 Days Out” media event what the arrival of Super Bowl LVI means for the Los Angeles community, President & CEO of LASEC Kathryn Schloessman said: “Obviously, the game is exciting, but what we’re most excited about is the impact that Super Bowl makes in the community. Two programs that the NFL brings with them that have really been unbelievably successful for us at leading up to the Super Bowl are the Business Connect Program — where we chose 225 local, diverse minority-run businesses in the event production space — and the Legacy Program.”
In the first of the two initiatives mentioned, minority, female-led, LGBTQ+ and veteran-owned businesses “were nominated to be part of a free program for a year where we were giving them workshops, training, and introductions to all the NFL partners so that they could bid on that business around the Super Bowl,” explained Schloessman.
“You don’t want a big event like a Super Bowl coming in and bringing all out-of-town vendors. We want our local businesses getting business from this event. So the NFL has been very good about making sure all the people they do business with are our local Business Connect vendors.”
Collective Rentals is a premier specialty furniture rental company that focuses on producing unique environments. As a part of the Business Connect, they are excited to add their style and flair to any event. To learn more, visit https://t.co/I9Zl2OSQ9c. #BusinessConnectLA pic.twitter.com/zPRKnpwNJ2— Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (@LASEC) February 1, 2022
The application process to apply for the Business Connect program ran from October 2020 to February 2021. Those selected were profiled in the Business Connect Resource Guide, which NFL vendors and event producers used to identify and select local suppliers to fulfill their Super Bowl LVI sub-contracting needs. Eligible businesses had to be 51%-owned by a minority, woman, LGBTQ+ or veteran individual; have been in operation and have a physical office in Los Angeles County since February 2018; provide a product or service requested by Business Connect; and be the direct source of the goods and services represented in their bid.
Super Bowl LVI is expected to deliver at least $52 million for the City of Inglewood, according to the LASEC, as it attracts thousands of out-of-town visitors – and their wallets, credit cards and Apple Pay – to regional hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. The aim of the Business Connect program is for much of that revenue to go to local vendors (such as caterers, sign makers, event producers, cleaning services, and more). In fact, 26 of the businesses selected to receive extra support in competing for contracts are actually located in the City of Inglewood, and 79% are minority-owned — with 30% being Latinx.
The second program that Schloessman highlighted at the run up to Super Bowl LVI was the Legacy Program a.k.a Champions Live Here, which focuses on all the “uncommon heroes in organizations that are already doing good work in youth sports, social justice or workforce development in our community,” she said. “We gave them a grant to get a promotional video on all 56 of these organizations, and then we use the media attention to focus the light on what they’re doing. All the local television stations have been running a series on those organizations, and they’ve gotten incredible exposure,” she explained. “That’s the kind of impact we want around the Super Bowl and all the events it brings, as so many phenomenal organizations and programs have been built just to support and help this community through Super Bowl LVI.”
Casey Wasserman, chairman of the Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee, summed up the group’s mission in a press statement by saying: “Our goal is to make sure once the game is over and the fans go home, local kids and families continue to reap the benefits of the game’s economic impact and lasting philanthropic legacy.”
The 56 “unsung hero” grassroots organizations and nonprofits chosen to represent Super Bowl LVI in the Legacy Program are all making a transformative impact in underserved communities across the Los Angeles region. They were each honored with a $10,000 grant award; a professionally produced marketing video spotlighting their organization; and public recognition of their work in the lead up to the Super Bowl. In addition, six of these 56 organizations were selected to each receive a total grant award of $50,000, to make an even bigger impact in their community.
Key criteria for those selected are that they are inclusive, collaborative, resourceful, innovative and focused on driving impact in the following areas:
- Youth Development: Organizations creating greater access and opportunity for youth to participate in sports, leadership and educational programs; improving and upgrading fields, parks and play facilities and promoting the overall wellbeing of children and teens (physical, mental, emotional health.
- Jobs and Economic Opportunity: Organizations working to expand the landscape of jobs and economic opportunity, increasing and improving opportunities for training, internships, job placement, entrepreneurship, and independent contracts/vendor relationships within the sports sector.
- Social Justice: Organizations that are working to promote equity and positive change in areas such as education, juvenile justice, food insecurity, housing and homelessness, environmental justice and climate change, civil rights, health and wellness, and community safety.
All 56 of the organizations are listed here, where you can also watch YouTube explainers on the valuable work that they do. Among them are the Challenged Athletes Foundation; the Black Cooperative Investment Fund; CASA of Los Angeles; Asian Americans Advancing Justice; I Have a Dream Foundation; Urban Peace Institution; and Village for Vets.
Following the star-studded NFL Honors show on Thursday, Feb. 11, the Super Bowl party scene really kicks off with DIRECTV presenting the Chairman’s Party, the exclusive after-party inside SoFi Stadium at The Canyons that includes a performance by eight-time Grammy winner Usher. Among the audience of A-listers, VIPs and former players expected, representatives from three special Legacy Program organizations will be invited to receive additional grants from DIRECTV (one for $25,000 and two for $5,000).
“The Chairman’s Party presented by DIRECTV, will celebrate the return of Super Bowl to the Los Angeles region, for the first time in nearly 30 years, and shine a light on a deserving Super Bowl LVI Legacy organization with the DIRECTVxChampionLA Award,” Schloessman said when announcing the event.
Now that is going to be something worth celebrating!