Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Superdome ready for hectic few days

You will not find many people in New Orleans as busy as Doug Thornton, a vice president of SMG, the company that manages the Mercedes Benz Superdome and New Orleans Arena.

Thornton and his crew must not only get ready for a highly anticipated title game and a home playoff game for the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome, but also the New Orleans Hornets next door.

In my history here, which is 15 years, we have never had a sequence of events like we have had in the last 14 days,” he said.

Just one event at a stadium like the Superdome requires a large number of people to clean and provide food.

“All of that is managed by the same team,” Thornton said. “Both the food service personnel and the building personnel. It takes about 2,500 to 2,700 part-time workers to put on a large stadium event.”

However, what might be the biggest obstacle for SMG is the quick turnaround from Saturday night (when the Saints play the Lions) to Monday night for the national championship game.

“That’s a challenge,” Thornton said. “All of the stadiums have to be capable of converting and transitioning into the next event. What makes this particularly challenging is that you have the national championship, it’s not just any college football game on Monday night and you’ve got a playoff game in a totally different league in the NFL.”

SMG has had to bend its schedule in order to accomplish everything without interfering with the teams’ busy schedules.

“We’ve got to work around the team practices,” Thornton said. “We do a lot of our work at night when people aren’t here.”

The real work begins after tonight’s playoff game, when staff begins not only cleaning, but also making the conversion from saints décor to BCS National Championship décor.

“We will immediately start stripping off the logos and the paint as soon as the game is over,” Thornton said. “We bring in a cleaning crew, we have about 350 people in here for overnight cleaning. It’s going to be continuous cleaning Saturday night into Sunday, and it will continue into Monday.”

Though the schedule might be one of the more hectic the Superdome has ever seen, Thornton is confident everything will run smoothly right on into Monday and the championship game.

“We will have rehearsals in here and band practice Monday morning, and be ready to play football in the afternoon.” Thornton said.

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