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The Rewards of Hosting A Super Bowl

By Cheval John

I am in “recovery mode” after having the opportunity to work and cover Super Bowl 51 that took place in Houston.

This past super bowl was the best championship matchup ever due to it going into overtime for the first time ever.

It was also the first time that a team had an epic meltdown on the biggest stage ever.

The Atlanta Falcons, who came into the Super Bowl as having the No.1 ranked offense, found a way to lose to the New England Patriots 34-28 in overtime.

The Falcons had a reputation of collapsing in the playoffs over the years.

Many thought that they were going to reverse the above and finally win their first Super Bowl.

The Patriots found a way to overcome a 25 point defecit with their determination plus heart and won their fifth Super Bowl.

Many major media outlets documented the Falcons’ epic collapse and also Lady Gaga’s halftime show

These same journalists from the major media outlets travel annually to cover the Super Bowl, which is the biggest event in the USA.

If a journalist is not a beat writer or a sports reporter for that particular NFL team, then they will not be able to travel to cover the Super Bowl due to budgets constraints or if their team did not make the championship.

Many television, radio and newspaper journalists had the opportunity to cover the festivities surrounding Super Bowl 51 here in Houston.

We saw reports about different festivities like Super Bowl Live, which took place at Discovery Green, that allowed the fans to see live concerts and also see the sports television personalities from Fox Sports, the NFL network ESPN and many others broadcast their shows live.

We also saw the feedback from the visitors on whether the city of Houston did an excellent job of hosting them during the Super Bowl.

Local residents of Houston had the opportunity to work as volunteers for the Houston Super Bowl Committee.

Some of us who work as social media professionals volunteered our services in working at the social media command center at the headquarters of the Houston Super Bowl Committee.

I had the opportunity to work as a social media volunteer for the Houston Super Bowl Committee and cover the activities using the different social media channels to give my audience a behind the scenes view of Super Bowl 51.

Take a look at this light show at Discovery Green

And the revolving Super Bowl rings that was displayed at the NFL Experience (which you had to pay to attend) inside the George R. Brown Convention Center

This photo below is the Lombardi Trophy which attendees had the opportunity to take a picture with

You will see how downtown got extremely busy when the visitors outside of the Houston area arrived on the weekend of the Super Bowl

I can tell you that it was truly a dream to be here for the Super Bowl because of seeing the lively atsmophere when watching all of the media coverage of the championship event.

I got to see first hand the teamwork from the different tourism organizations like Houston First and The Greater Houston Partnership who helped promote the event.

I also saw the Houston Astros organization lend their full support to the Super Bowl with the use of Minute Maid Park, where the opening night (media day) took place.

Now that Super Bowl 51 is over, the Houston Super Bowl host committee did the honorary transfer of the guard to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee to get their city prepared to host Super Bowl 52.

My advice to the Minnesota Super Bowl Committee is to think outside of the box and enlist social media professionals in addition to business leaders to help promote Super Bowl 52.

You will do an excellent job because you have the right leaders and team members that are qualified to host the Super Bowl.

For anyone who works in the different business sectors and industries in the Minneapolis area, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be apart of the Super Bowl.

Though you will not get paid, I can guarantee you that you will see the long term benefits of volunteering your time for the Super Bowl.

When the commissioner of the NFL tells the crowd and the national media that your host city did an excellent work in hosting the fans and visitors, you will have a sense of pride in being a part of a Super Bowl.

To close out this blog post, here is the video of the Super Bowl train leaving downtown which was the home of the Houston Super Bowl Committee

And the fireworks to end the Super Bowl Live Festivities

Three Restaurants To Visit During Super Bowl 51

By Cheval John

In the Houston area, they are thousands of restaurants and coffee shops that serve the residents that call this city home.

The interesting thing is it will take a lifetime to visit all of the restaurants in the fourth largest city in the United States of America.

The reason is that most coffee shops and restaurants don’t last for more than five years.

Every year there is a new restaurant opening within the Houston area.

And with the Super Bowl set to take place in less than a week, the city of Houston are prepared to showcase what they have to offer.

According to Visit Houston.com, an estimated two million people will descend here for the biggest event of the year.

The city has changed dramatically since hosting the Super Bowl in 2004 with the expansion of the train system and the addition of discovery green park.

Plus, the convention district has renovated in the last couple of years with the addition of new restaurants, the new marriot marquis houston hotel and the partnership tower.

With that being said, people will want to know where are the best places to eat during the super bowl festivities.

Here are some of the best restaurants and coffee shops that you will enjoy while you are here during the Super Bowl.

These restaurants and coffee shops make this list because they are houston based and some have a strong social media presence.

ToutSuite

ToutSuite opened in 2011 with the intention of changing the east side of downtown houston.

They are located at 2001 Commerce St. near Minute Maid Park.

The company was founded by Sandy Tran and Thuy-My Luong.

ToutSuite has one of the best selections for coffee and food items.

What is truly cool about them is that they are consistently busy because most of their customers are college students who are doing their homework or studying.

Another aspect that makes them very unique is the way how they engage their audience on social media.

Their social media team consist of Roshan Bhatt, marketing coordinator and the company’s co-owner.

When I tell you that their social media is excellent, I mean it.

Each of their content on Instagram averages 400 likes and people always leave a comment.

The key driver as to why they are always getting engagement from their fans is because they consistently posts their content everyday.

Take a look at this post:

And this post here:

Though the co-owners had no intention of expanding their business, they opened a second location at 303 Memorial City because of a need to bring a coffee shop there.

And they are planning to add a co-working space to their company because they see a need for small business owners to collaborate on work related projects.

If you have the opportunity, you should visit ToutSuite.

806 Main Kitchen

This restaurant is located inside the J.W. Marriot Downtown, which opened in 2014.

The hotel occupies the historic “Carter Building,” Houston’s first skyscraper which was built in 1910.

806 Main Kitchen has a variety of food items that represents the city of Houston.

The interesting thing is that most of their customers are business professionals who work in downtown houston.

The chefs get the orders finished in a timely manner that makes it easy for the workers to enjoy their lunch hour and recharge before they go back to work.

So when you walk inside during the busy lunch hour, you will see a lot of business professionals enjoying their break time from the daily stress of working for oil and gas companies.

The only thing I would advise is to find out from the staff if the Main Kitchen will be open to anyone due to the Super Bowl festivities.

Zabak’s Mediterranean Cafe

Zabak’s Cafe has been in business since 2006.

They are located at 5901 Westheimer Road near the Galleria Mall.

The company has one of the best mediterranean foods in Houston.

What I love about this restaurant is that the ownership take care of their employees and they treasure their customers.

And their story is unique as well.

The owner’s parents immigrated to the Houston area from the Middle East and opened a restaurant that catered to other immigrants.

They have been featured in the Houston Chronicle and made Travel and Leisure’s Best Sandwiches List.

When you walk inside Zabak’s restaurant, you will sense a welcoming atmosphere that will make you feel more relaxed.

And they have no intention of expanding because they believe that they are in the right location to be extremely successful with their business.

It takes about an hour to get to their location via the Houston Metropolitan Bus 82 Route.

However, the travel will be worth it because you will enjoy their mediterranean food.

If you are staying in the Galleria area, you should stop by Zabak’s Mediterranean Cafe.

And if you need to know where else to go around downtown during the Super Bowl, you should check out,
downtownhoustonlive.com, a video guide created by Annette McBride and Laura Lea Waldusky to give visitors a video tour of what to do while they are here for the super bowl.

Did I miss any restaurants and coffee shops in this article?

What are your favorite places to eat and drink while you are in Houston?

You can leave your comment below

Giving Your Fans Unique Access To Your Business

By Cheval John

The Sevilla Football Club (FC) made history a couple of days ago in Basel, Switzerland.

The Spanish club defeated Liverpool F.C. 3-1 to win their third consecutive UEFA Europa League Championship and also the only club to win the title five times.

Sevilla again qualified for the UEFA Champions League season for next year.

They also have another opportunity to play for the UEFA Super Cup against the winner of the Champions League final that is set to occur next Saturday in Milan, Italy.

Some will probably not make a big deal out of Sevilla’s dominance in the Europa League because it is not as well known to the casual fan like the Champions League.

It is comparable to the fact that North Dakota State, who became the first collegiate team to win 5 consecutive national championships, because many view their competition as inferior due to the level that they play in, the Football Championship Subdivision, (FCS).

But the thing is that Sevilla is one among the most storied soccer teams in this century because they are finding ways to win tough matches.

In this year’s championship, Sevilla was down 1-0 entering the second half.

Then they scored three goals in the second half to steal the title from Liverpool.

This matchup was widely broadcast on television stations around the world especially on Fox Sports, the spanish equivalent Fox Deportes and ESPN Deportes.

For those who wanted to watch this matchup probably did not have access to these channels because they could not afford the cable channels above.

What would have happened if these sports teams give their fans a unique access to championship matchups by using the live streaming apps like Periscope and Snapchat?

I have a feeling that these sports teams would have built a stronger and deeper following like the North Carolina State Wrestling Team.

I heard of how the NC State Wrestling used periscope to give the alumni and fans access to the NCAA Wrestling Championships from Jennifer Hoverstad, livestreamer, Operations and Project Manager for 03.

That is truly awesome because the NC State wrestling team knew that most of their fans would not be able to watch them compete on ESPN3.

Also, the team listened to what the NC State alumni wanted and were able to solve the problem by giving them access to the NCAA championships.

This is why businesses should take the time to listen to what their audience want and not just try to sell to them whenever they have a chance.

When the businesses and sports teams follow the example of the NC State wrestling team and Mrs. Hoverstad, they will be one step closer to being extremely successful in their business.

The Most Wide-Spread SuperBowl In History

By Cheval John

Photo Courtesy of LegendsSportsBar.com

Photo Courtesy of LegendsSportsBar.com


The most anticipated event of the year in the National Football League (NFL), the 50th SuperBowl is set to become reality tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. eastern, 3:30 p.m. pacific.

For a lot of people, this SuperBowl is the most spread out in history.

According to the Houston Chronicle‘s John McClain, the NFL’s media center headquarters is in the city and county of San Francisco, while the media day event that took place on Monday night is in San Jose, 48 miles south of San Francisco.

And Levi’s Stadium, which is the setting for the big game, is in Santa Clara, California, 45 miles south of San Francisco.

Another observation that Mr. McClain noted in his article for the Chronicle is that the teams who are participating in this momentous event are based in different parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Denver Broncos are practicing and staying at a hotel in the city of San Francisco.

The Carolina Panthers are practicing and staying in San Jose.

So the logistics of the whole SuperBowl events taken place in the San Francisco Bay area, are in a lot of ways a nightmare.

For veteran sports journalists like Mr. McClain, who have covered the NFL for the Houston Chronicle for 35 years, and Charean Williams, writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who is in her 22th year of covering the NFL, the travel will be challenging and at the same time fun.

As Jackie McMullan mentioned years ago during an behind the scenes of ESPN’s, “Around The Horn,” the SuperBowl is where journalists are working extremely harder because they have to cover stories like never before.

They have to showcase every angle of what is happening at the city that is hosting the SuperBowl.

In the case of this SuperBowl being held in the San Francisco Bay area, these journalists will have to travel long distances to do interviews with the football players who are participating in the SuperBowl, go to the NFL Awards show, plus go to the NFL meetings where the commissioner of the NFL address the state of the football league that he is in charge of.

One can ask, what if the 49ners was still playing their football matchups at the old CandleStick Park in the city of San Francisco, would there have been a SuperBowl in the Bay area?

I can honestly guess that the San Francisco Bay area would not have hosted the SuperBowl if the 49ners have played their home matchups in their old stadium.

But because of the newly built Levi’s Stadium in the city of Santa Clara, which has a population of over 120,000, they were able to lure the NFL to host the big matchup in their area and bring in a whole lot of revenue to their respective cities.

Plus, they will be able to gain more national and even international attention like never before.

For example, the mayor of Santa Clara, Jamie L. Matthews, was featured in the New York Times about how he will not attend the SuperBowl despite getting a free ticket.

Though it was not planned, Mr. Matthews’ “refusal” to attend the SuperBowl that is being hosted in his city, has gotten a lot of press because people were curious to know why he would turn down a free ticket when many others are paying thousands of dollars to be at the stadium.

So for those who have traveled to the San Francisco Bay area for the SuperBowl, I commend you because y’all can say that you were at the most wide-spread SuperBowl event in history.

As for the predictions of who will win the SuperBowl?

I will say that the Denver Broncos will surprise everyone and defeat the heavily favored Carolina Panthers.

And everyone else who live in the Denver area like my friend and coach, Tamara McCleary, are also believing for a Broncos win.

College Football Playoff’s Impact on Phoenix

By Cheval John January 11th, 2016

Tonight, the nation will see who will win the College Football Playoff National Championship matchup between No.1 Clemson Tigers and the No.2 Alabama Crimson Tide in Glendale, Arizona on ESPN.

Everyone will expect Alabama to win their 11th national championship in the sport of football and fourth in seven years because they have a tradition of winning.

Many can almost compare Alabama to an NFL powerhouse because of the way their head coach, Nick Saban run the program.

No one would expect Clemson, who is seeking their second ever national title, to beat Alabama despite being the lone undefeated team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

History have a way of repeating itself.

Clemson’s last national title in 1981 has some similarities.

In that year, they opened the season against Wofford, an Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent en route to their first championship.

In the 2015 season, the Tigers opened their matchup against Wofford.

Just maybe, Clemson will pull off the shocking upset.

What is really interesting is the way the coverage of the national championship game has been displayed leading up to the matchup.

ESPN, the world wide leader in sports, have been broadcasting the events and interviews with the football players and the coaches today.

You can at times have a sense of the atmosphere that the fans of both Clemson and Alabama are experiencing at the pre-championship football matchup events.

You might come to a conclusion that the events is almost like the Super Bowl.

And you can expect to see major corporations and non-profits capitalizing on the opportunities to promote their uplifting services and products during the national championship game.

Looking at these tweets below:

And even some are using this matchup to promote their causes.

Like this tweet from the U.S. Fish and Wild Life

And let’s not leave out the SEC Network:

And this tweet from the College Football Playoff

Now with all of the media attention that the national championship is getting, you can expect the Phoenix metropolitan area to benefit financially from this.

In a lot of ways, Phoenix is benefiting tremendously from the media exposure that they are receiving.

But from an insider’s perspective, the media attention that they receive is only when a major event like the Super Bowl or in this case, the national championship, happens in their surrounding area.

Monique Hoffmann, a.k.a. Q The Brand, shared with me on the live streaming platform called Blab, that many people don’t know about the positive offerings that the Phoenix area gives to businesses.

She also brought a bigger perspective on the fact that many large businesses are not taking advantage of social media to promote their businesses for the better.

She also mentioned that if they do use social media, they are looking for the quick return on investment (ROI) and not looking at the long term positive results due to their efforts from being on social media.

It is like they miss the boat on the fact that they have to build trust with their customers and fans if they want to be successful.

And the most interesting thing that was mentioned in the blab show about the College Football Playoff by Clair Wyant, a fellow Phoenix resident as Q The Brand, is that Clemson Athletics have been utilizing social media the correct way to build further trust and engagement with their students, faculty and alumni base.

So in essence, Clemson understands the true value of social media.

So if you can continue to use social media correctly to build a loyal audience, you can succeed in your business as an small business owner or solopreneur for the better.

As for my predictions regarding the national championship matchup, my intuition says that Clemson will pull off the shocking upset and win their second national championship.