HOUSTON - If you thought Houston threw a party when it hosted the Super Bowl in 2004, just wait until you see what the Bayou City has planned for 2017.
Houston was awarded Super Bowl LI Tuesday and immediately announced plans for a massive 10 day downtown party.
"Super Bowl central will be here," Super Bowl Bid Committee member Donald J Henderson said while standing at Discovery Green Park. "In a few short years there's going to be about 125,000 people around here with us. Everything prior to game day will be going on here, and then on Sunday everything moves out to Reliant Park."
Henderson said the committee wants to make sure as many people as possible are involved, not just those fortunate enough to get a ticket inside Reliant Stadium.
"We tried to make it about the community, and especially about our diversity, because we're the most diverse city going," Henderson said.
In an effort to capitalize on Houston's cultural diversity, the Super Bowl Bid Committee pitched the theme - Super Bowl El Centro.
"Something named after Latinos and Hispanic heritage," Houstonian Carlos Rodriguez said. "That's nice. I like that." So did the NFL, encouraging the committee to keep the name.
El Centro, Spanish for The Center, refers to Discovery Green Park and the rest of the downtown area, which will serve as the center of the festivities leading up to the big game.
To accommodate the large crowds expected downtown, a new 1,000 room Marriot Marquis Hotel will be built in the parking lot next to the George R. Brown Convention Center.
A cultural museum and additional housing are also expected to be built in time for Super Bowl LI.
"We're celebrating our community," Henderson said. "We're celebrating the next 50 years of the Super bowl and Houston will set the stage and set the bar for the rest to follow."
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