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Leadership Update

Just Super

NFL Experience sign Super Bowl, inside and out

There is so much information pertaining to Super Bowl 51 in February that all the details would resemble an old Sears catalogue were they to be disseminated in print.

Therefore, for brevity’s sake, here are some of the key logistics for the NFL Experience inside the George R. Brown Convention Center and Super Bowl LIVE venues outside in the Avenida Houston district.

Tickets for NFL Experience, pro football's interactive theme park, offers fans a chance to get involved in the festivities surrounding the Super Bow with interactive games, youth football clinics, NFL merchandise, player autograph sessions and more.

Fans are invited to celebrate the history of the Super Bowl at the 24th edition of NFL Experience, which will be open to the public from January 28-29 and February 1-5.

Tickets are available online exclusively through Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under, and permit entry for a particular day and time. An NFL Experience schedule is posted on

Super Bowl LIVE is a free nine-day fan festival in downtown Houston. Anchored in Discovery Green and encompassing more than 250,000 square feet, Super Bowl LIVE features live music and performances, interactive exhibits and a 90-foot virtual reality trip to Mars.

LIVE opens with a preview on Friday night, January 27, and continues daily through the big game on  February 5. Concert stages will be spread throughout the Avenida district. Television will have a presence in Discovery Green with the Fox, CNN and the NFL networks.


Enterprise Development
Partnerships & Events

Super Bowl activities and planning intensified with the Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL to ensure HFC is able to receive full value for its partnership with the Host Committee.  The Partnerships and Event team worked across all HFC departments to coordinate these activities.

Planning for Comicpalooza accelerated during December, including the development of a Safety and Security Task Force involving appropriate public safety agencies and the GRB to ensure an enjoyable environment for all attendees.

Avenida Houston Shop/Visitors Center

Shop renovation was completed in December and new merchandise from Chloe Dao, Manready Mercantile and Roze Dove brands incorporated into the mix.


The Marriott Marquis completed 2.5 years of construction and opened its 1,000 rooms on December 26.

R24 Lounge logo

Hilton Americas-Houston opened its R24 Executive Rooftop Lounge on January 3. It replaces the space on the 24th floor formerly occupied by the Skyline meeting room.

The Hilton's ever-popular gingerbread and chocolate lobby display was a big hit during December.

Avenida Development

The art installation "Wings Over the Water" was dedicated on December 16, kicking off the 51-day countdown to Super Bowl 51.

Flower beds in front of the GRB were installed the week of December 12.


Cultural Facilities
Sales and Marketing

The following shows were booked since the last report:

Teco Theatrical: Brian Culbertson – February 12, Wortham Center
Brilliant Lecture Series: Harry Belafonte  – February 23, Wortham Center
Arthritis Foundation: Walk to Cure Arthritis – May 19, Fish Plaza
Amy Blake’s Academy of Dance: Dance Recitals – June 22-24, Wortham Center
Houston Symphony: May 2017 Rehearsals & Performances  – May 2-29, Jones Hall
Society for the Performing Arts: The 5 Browns  – May 12, Jones Hall
Society for the Performing Arts: Jessica Lang Dance  – May 19-20, Wortham Center
Society for the Performing Arts: Neil Gaiman  – July 8, Wortham Center

Tickets for the following shows have gone on sale since the last report:

Brian Culbertson – February 12, Wortham Center  
Eva Schloss – February 15, Wortham Center

Theater District Parking

A new signage package that includes a simpler, color-coded pedestrian wayfinding system has been completed and installed.

Sunset Coffee Building

No updates this month.

Miller Outdoor Theatre

Bid specifications were crafted for sound and lighting console replacement and a small stage dimming system.  The entire outdoor  sound and lighting system were removed for repair.

June Deadrick has finished her term as the Miller Theatre Advisory Board chair and will remain on the board as a member of the executive committee. Miriam Meyers has been nominated as the new chair and will be sworn in at the next board meeting.

Jones Hall

Jones Hall  hosted 23 events in during the festive month of December for hefty total attendance of 39,051.

Topping the fare were Houston Symphony performances of "A Very Merry Pops" and "Handel’s Messiah" and Society for the Performing Arts presentation of "We Three Kings – An Irish Tenors Holiday Concert."

Shen Yun returned for another year of performances the week after Christmas.

Wortham Theater Center 

Wortham hosted  51 events for a total of 76,256 patrons in December.

As is its annual rite, Houston Ballet filled the month with Stanton Welch’s new production of "The Nutcracker." Ballet patrons continued their tradition of attending this annual event with many generations of family members.

Houston Grand Opera presented the timeless tale "It’s a Wonderful Life" in December.

Talento Bilingue de Houston

Talento Bilingue was the host site for various holiday programs to help families from throughout Houston. 
The annual Pancho Claus was performed on Christmas Eve with over 400 children receiving Christmas presents at  TBH.


Convention Facilities
George R. Brown Convention Center

No updates this month. 

Construction Status
No updates this month.





Halliburton's Galen Cobb, John Solis, Gerardo Uria of the American Petroleum Institute and Daniel Palomo rate the winning bid highly.

Houston has landed the 2020 World Petroleum Congress! Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner led a delegation to Bahrain that included Sales' John Solis and Daniel Palomo along with WPC Houston Bid Committee chair Galen Cobb and representatives from area energy companies. After Houston's bid presentation, WPC delegates voted to bring the global events to Houston in 2020. Houston last hosted the congress in 1987.

The citywide team team generated over 146,000 possible room nights and secured 113,560 definite room nights for future years with conferences using our major convention facilities. The non-citywide team secured 42,634 definite room nights for conventions while adding another 64,589 tentative room night opportunities.

The international team secured 3,572 definite room nights for future years and added an additional 2,739 tentative room night opportunities.  Members of the sales team participated in the International Association of Exhibitions and Events conference as well the Holiday Showcase.  These events featured meeting executives from around the country that plan significant events in the corporate, association and specialty markets.

Client Services

Client Services conducted seven planning site visits in December for upcoming conventions: GameStop (2/2017); Experient Maritz (8/2017); Assemblies of Equipment Manufacturers (3/2018); American Association of Petroleum Geologists (4/2017); American Association of Petroleum Geologists (4/2017); National Black Law Students Association (3/2017); and ABB, Inc. (3/2017).

The team also participated in six local promotional events: iDesign Social Hour, Shepard’s Cheer-ity Event, Save Art Holiday Party, GHCVB Happy Hour, Freeman Annual Holiday Celebration and Super Bowl 51 Countdown.

Event Services

Events Services assisted with eight events: IAEE Expo Expo, Marriott Tours, Taste of What’s to Come,  Membership Appreciation Holiday Open House and Marriott Tour, Orrick Campus Tour, Super Bowl 51 Media Event/Wings Over Water Event, Association Forum Holiday Showcase and Experient Advocare Golf Challenge.

Corporate Culture

Corporate Culture assisted with Cyber Security Training on December 12-13.

General Counsel

No updates this month


Save the date of March 30 for the annual Tourism Summit, which this year will be presented along with the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau's annual meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Tourism Summit features news and trends in marketing and tourism along with presentations from recognized leaders in travel.

There is still time to register for the Forbes Travel Guide Hospitality Service Training, which will be held  January 23 at The Houstonian Hotel. This outstanding training, provided by Forbes Travel Guide, is ideal for front-line personnel at hotels, restaurants and other service personnel who deal directly with consumers.

Tourism hosted a reporter from CNN Mexico and Latin America, working on a pre-Super Bowl story.  We also hosted an influencer from Mexico, on a joint promotion with the Day for Night event.

Pilar Florez, director of Tourism, participated in the State of Texas Sales Mission to Australia and New Zealand.

International PR closed the year on a positive note, surpassing the media value goal of $12 million and 887 media placements generated. International media value for 2016: $14,155,493; Total audience: 1,131,840,293.


A total of 217 people attended the annual GHCVB Membership Appreciation and Holiday Open House was held on December 15.  Members and their guests were treated to holiday cheer, entertainment and a first look tour of the Marriott Marquis Houston prior to their grand opening. 

New members added in December were Drury Inn & Suites Houston Galleria, Restaurant Cinq, Patrenella's Italian Restaurant, Houston Food Bank Conference Center, FreshBrew Group USA, El Big Bad, La Colombe d'Or Hotel & Restaurant, La Colombe d'Or Gallery, Dinner Detective, Houston International Trade Development Council, Pax Americana, Lemond Kitchen, Le Meridien Hotel, Bryan Museum, Carey Executive Transportation | Worldwide Chauffeured Services, Up Social Network, Krist Law Firm, and Nightly Spirits.

Corporate Affairs

Corporate Affairs and other stakeholders participated in the following community investment events in December: Greater Houston Partnership State of Texas Medical Center Luncheon, Greater Houston Partnership Houston Region Economic Outlook Luncheon, City of Houston Champions of Diversity Event, Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston 16th Annual Bike Building benefiting Child Advocates
Greater Houston Partnership Elected Officials Reception, Holiday Tree Lighting and Kwanzaa Celebration and the Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum Award Ceremony.

Public Affairs

In December, Public Affairs hosted a Hospitality Industry Roundtable with Congressman Gene Green of Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Representatives of HFC and a select group of invited stakeholders discussed federal legislation related to travel and tourism, as well as anticipated policy changes that the incoming federal administration may implement.  

Marketing and Communications

In December, the network of websites generated 493,000 visits. The media value for this exposure was $1,460,000.

Several stories ran as a result of public relations pitches and activity including leisure pieces from PlayboySB Nation, Texas Highways, Travels with Adam, Art in America and Associated Press. We worked closely with the promoters of the Day for Night music and art festival to generate coverage by the Wall Street Journal, Paste magazine, W magazine, Texas Monthly, Consequence of Sound, Hyperallergic, the Observer and many other publications.

Mike Waterman spoke with Houston Matters’ Craig Cohen recently on how the destination is prepping for Super Bowl.

The awarding of the 2020 World Petroleum Congress to Houston garnered significant local coverage. Two pieces here and here from the Chronicle, the Houston Business Journal, the Associated Press which ran it in a number of newspapers, CultureMap and Houston Public Media.

The “launch” of Avenida Houston at the 51 Days to Super Bowl event in mid-December helped us garner good coverage for the new brand. The emerging restaurant scene was covered in a front page piece in the Chronicle. This Chronicle story explored Avenida through the lens of Super Bowl. More stories on Avenida via Meetings + Conventions, KPRC, Houston Business Journal, CultureMap and KHOU.

Additionally, Houston hosted a media event in Los Angeles to promote Houston in conjunction with the Film Commission. The event, held at Sixty Beverly Hills, included roughly seven media plus guests from publications including Buzzfeed, Frontiers online, Family Getaways, Huffington Post, Matador Network, Association News, Meetings & Conventions and Journey magazine.

The team conducted 13 interviews promoting Houston in preparation for Super Bowl 51. In addition to the groups mentioned above, the team hosted multiple journalists, both individual and in assistance with Day for Night music Festival. In total, the team hosted 13 journalists from publications including Paste, Nylon, Vibe, Huffington Post, Consequence of Sound, Texas Highways, Smart Meetings, Alaska Airlines and more

Lastly, Houston First was featured in a three-page spread (pgs. 30-32) on operations and maintenance in Facility Manager magazine.

Film Commission

In  December Houston hosted 18 film and video productions resulting in 97 filming days with direct expenditures of $943,000 and an economic impact of $2,829,000.  Some of these projects include:

Commercials --  Reliant Energy
Television Series/Cable Series -- Little Women Atlanta, The Book Of John, Little Couple 2.0, Food Paradise, The Vet Life, My 600-Lb. Life, Skin Tight, High Rollers, and SciGirls.
Documentary/Industrials -- Man Made Planet, American Doers, Unnatural Disasters, Hidden Figures: Danielle, Leah Still and The Killing Fields.
Feature/Short Films -- Simon and Sydney’s Revenge.

Houston Film Commission sponsored the Houston Film Media Reception on December 6 in Los Angeles.

Regional Product Development

Freeway corridor enhancements – Construction to enhance  eight bridge fence crossings over I-69, from Tuam Street to Bell Street, will be begin in the next week by the low-bidder, Sparq1200.  The enhancements will consist of weaving colorful strips of high-density vinyl into the existing chain link fences. The strips will be pre-printed with color on both sides and depict pixilated images based on photographs by children compiled in the publication “In the eyes of Our Children: Houston, an American City”.

Jones Plaza – The programming work for re-imagining the plaza continues with an on-line survey for which almost 300 responses were received.  Those responses will be included in the final report for the re-programming study expected to be complete by the end of March.  

A new attraction for Houston – Following a request for qualifications to conduct a market analysis and feasibility study for a new iconic attraction that has yet to be revealed, we interviewed three shortlisted firms on January 6. We will enter into negotiations for an agreement to be announced at the end of the month.

Finance & Administration

No updates this month.

For the full financial management and accountability report, click here.

Information Technology

IT procured LoJack software to manage lost and stolen mobile hardware. This software will aid in tracking, locating, and recovery of laptops, Surface Pros and Surface Books lost or stolen from employees.

IT also procured the B2GNOW Diversity software contracts/purchase order module for reporting diversity percentages more accurately. IT also facilitated two cyber security training sessions for HFC personnel on December 12-13.