Super Bowl LIVE Kicks Off at Discovery Green

Super Bowl LIVE at Discovery Green.
Super Bowl LIVE at Discovery Green. Houston Super Bowl Host Committee
click to enlarge Super Bowl LIVE at Discovery Green. - HOUSTON SUPER BOWL HOST COMMITTEE
Super Bowl LIVE at Discovery Green.
Houston Super Bowl Host Committee

The Pats may have bounced the Texans from the playoffs, but that’s no reason not to show a little Lone Star pride at Super Bowl LIVE, soon to descend on Discovery Green with nine days and 13 football fields worth of free, family-friendly fun ahead of the big game.

Todd Holloman, vice president of Super Bowl LIVE, says the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee’s goal is to highlight Houston as a city of the future, and Super Bowl LI as a Super Bowl of the future, by showcasing Houston diversity and innovation.

Diversity, he says, can be seen in Houston LIVE, a city block dedicated to the story of Houston, the culinary options spread throughout Discovery Green, and an impressive all-Texas musical lineup.

"We have two stages,” says Holloman. “[On] our Music Live Main Stage, we have headliners such as Solange, Leon Bridges, ZZ Top, Blue October, Lecrae — great headlining artists, all from Texas. Houston’s own The Suffers will be performing on what we call ‘Super Saturday,’ February 4, with Gary Clark Jr [and] ZZ Top.” And 40 local and regional acts will take the second Discovery Green Concert Stage.

The best example of Houston innovation may be the product of the committee’s partnership with NASA, Future Flight, a virtual reality journey to Mars with a 90-foot drop tower.

"You're going to go all the way to Mars,” says Holloman. “Then you’ll drop down through the open roof of NRG and land on the 50-yard line.” If you’re already queasy, Holloman says, you can experience it from ground level too.

Total, Holloman says it’s 750,000 square feet with 67 musical acts, 24 DJs, 29 food trucks, nightly water projection shows at Kinder Lake, four firework displays, three TV networks (Fox, NFL Network and CNN are all broadcasting from Jones Lawn) and Future Flight. But if that’s not enough, for the first time, NFL Experience is connected with Super Bowl LIVE, the host committee's signature event.

NFL Experience Driven by Genesis, pro football’s interactive theme park, is taking over George R. Brown Convention Center next door for seven days of player autograph sessions, photo ops with the Lombardi trophy and plenty of interactive games, so you can race against NFL players on a 40-yard-long LED wall, do your best Roger Staubach in a Hail Mary simulator or “make the call” in an instant replay booth.

Regardless of whether or not you’ll be heading down to NRG on February 5, Holloman wants all Houstonians “to be able to experience Super Bowl LI, to feel like they are able to come down and have that experience, either through NFL Experience or through Super Bowl LIVE, that they can say they took part in the activities of Super Bowl LI.

“For the football fan, for the casual fan, for anybody just wanting to enjoy the action of a Super Bowl, it’s a great opportunity to come down and see what it’s all about.”

Super Bowl LIVE opens January 28 and continues through February 5 at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, visit Free.

NFL Experience Driven by Genesis also opens January 28 and continues through February 5 next door at the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. For information, call 866-849-4635 or visit $25 to $55.
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Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.