We’ve been welcoming tourists to NFL and NBA games, NCAA football, Sugar Bowls, PGA tour events and many other sports events for a long time. Visitors arriving for Saints, Pelicans, Green Wave and other games provide us with ample opportunities to demonstrate that New Orleans is a great host city. We’ve also hosted the NFL’s Superbowl, the NBA’s All-star game, WWE Wrestlemania and other sell-out sporting events. Our success in creating a positive visitor experience directly influences our ability to attract future such events. Collectively, sports events pump hundreds of millions of dollars into our vibrant and growing economy.
IndyCar to Debut in 2015
Now, our opportunities are expanding into auto racing, because the IndyCar series is coming to New Orleans. In 2015, we’ll extend a warm welcome to even more sports fans when the IndyCar race comes to the NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale. Our ability to attract this brand-new IndyCar event to greater New Orleans is possible because of the construction of the $60 million track. It was designed by Alan Wilson, who is also credited with designing Salt Lake City’s Miller Motorsports Track and Birmingham’s Barber Motorsports Park. Birmingham’s new track debuted in 2011, and it hosted AMA motorcycle racing the very next year.
This new private track has already been bringing visitors to NOLA, and the number of racing fans visiting us will only increase with the arrival of IndyCar in 2015. The IndyCar series also features the premier racing event in the United States every year, the Indianapolis 500.
Embracing Sports Fans of all Kinds
We can treat all of those visiting sports fans with a smile, a helping hand, an insider tip and a shared story. Here are some specific ways that we can make the tourist experience that much better for our visitors. Offer directions to their destination or start up a conversation. Our historic sites and other destinations are valuable; our caring warmth and helpful attitudes are priceless.
Did you ever see someone repeatedly glancing at street signs or staring at their map? Chances are, they could really use your intimate insights gleaned over years of living here. You might know to point out which is Riverside or Lakeside (instead of East or West), and help with pronouncing Tchoupitoulas and Terpsichore. Or, you might even be in a position to suggest a great dining spot or sports bar just around the corner. This kindness will likely be remembered even after they have returned home.
Finally, many New Orleanians express the unique culture of their city through great storytelling skills. In some locales, storytelling is a bit of a lost art, but certainly not in New Orleans. Don’t underestimate your own ability to relate something special to a visitor. Speak from the heart, and the special spirit of our city will shine through.