NEW ORLEANS - As the Patriots and Giants went head to head in Super Bowl XLVI, a group of New Orleanians were ramping up for next year's big game.
The Super Bowl is coming back to the Crescent City for the first time in a decade.
'Beginning tonight at midnight the game is ours, its on, the game is on,' said Mark Romig, CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and a member of the Super Bowl XLVII host committee. 'So 2013 is just right around the corner, and efforts are nonstop right now to put on the best party ever.'
Romig returned Friday after spending the week in Indianapolis. He and a group of two dozen other New Orleanians observed how the Circle City pulled off the big event. Sanitation, security and traffic were among the topics discussed.
Officials with SMG, the company that runs the Superdome, were among those who made the scouting trip.
Officials said hosting a Super Bowl isn't just a one day event. They said festivities begin the weekend before.
'2013 is going to be quite an interesting year for us,' Romig said. 'If you want to be anywhere to party, it's going to be in New Orleans, because you've got the Super Bowl sandwiched in between Mardi Gras.'
A lot has changed since 2002, the last time New Orleans hosted the Super Bowl.
Some fans will see the city, including a completely renovated Superdome, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.
'The event has become so much larger than even in 2002,' Romig said. 'So much more is expected of the host city. It's important for us to involve the fans in a much higher level.'
But it's not just about the game - the hospitality industry also is gearing up. The NFL has already booked every room at the Hotel Monteleone for next year's Super Bowl.
'We have to do a lot of security preparations of course, we started going to meetings for that last year actually,' said Megan Ebarb, guest services manager at the Hotel Monteleone.
Meanwhile, Who Dats hope next year the Saints will once again go all the way, this time, on their home turf.
'It would mean a ton, we've been to the Super Bowl once already and won and it was great, but being here in the city, it would be a party,' said Chris Davis, a Saints fan who wore a black and gold jersey as he watched the Super Bowl Sundayat a New Orleans bar.
Officials expect Super Bowl XLVIIwill have an economic impact of more than $400 million for the entire region.