JACKSONVILLE, FL: When the Super Bowl kicks off in Alltel Stadium this Sunday, it will signal the culmination of more than four years of work by Jacksonville's own Dalton Agency.
The full-service shop successfully pitched to help the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee put together its bid package and presentation in 2000, when the somnolent southern city seemed a long shot to land the world's biggest sporting event.
Agency president and CEO Jim Dalton joked that the entire committee "was about four people" at that early stage. But the River City was awarded the game in November of 2000, and Dalton signed on as the Host Committee's AOR.
Since then, the agency has coordinated virtually all aspects of the game preparations. Dalton said his firm has handled sponsorships, presentations, and community relations duties, as well as marketing and advertising. They also worked closely with the NFL to prepare media tours for national media.
"The host committee really acts as the local arm of the NFL," Dalton explained. Landing the game was considered a coup by the local government, but it came with a laundry list of responsibilities.
"We have 9,000 volunteers. We have a huge reading program," Dalton said. "All these initiatives had to be sold to the community, and we need to educate them on how they work."
Dalton said that landing the Super Bowl was essentially an RFP process, albeit one that required an 800-page proposal. "Their initial thought was to hire someone in New York," Dalton said. But the mayor urged the committee to keep the work in town, and every firm in Jacksonville pitched for it. Dalton Agency, far from the largest, secured the contract on the strength of its presentation.
As the game approaches, the workload only increases. "It's fun work, it's just all due right away," Dalton said.
After a post-game assessment, their work will be complete. But Dalton said its lasting impact on the agency has been "invaluable."