From the moment the Cincinnati Bengals touched down in Los Angeles to the morning they left the UCLA’s Luskin Conference Center, the team’s hotel, following Super Bowl LVI, “Who Dey” energy and UCLA hospitality were strong.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate excellent service and show the world that we are an amazing venue for individuals, events and programs of all sizes and types,” said Tony Perrone, general manager of the Luskin Hotel and Conference Center, adding that his team worked with NFL Media to transform the hotel.
Los Angeles played host to the first Super Bowl in 1967, but hadn’t seen the Big Game played in the city since 1993. This year’s match ended with the Los Angeles Rams claiming a 23-20 victory over the Bengals in SoFi Stadium.
The Luskin team’s understanding of what goes into feeding elite athletes was an essential selling point. In addition to preparing team meals for the Bruin football and basketball teams — and hosting visiting college sports teams — many members of the Luskin culinary leadership group have worked for professional sports organizations, including the Clippers, Lakers, Sparks, Kings and Dodgers.
“There is a wealth of experience here,” said Chef Joey Martin. Martin and his team worked closely with the Bengals nutritionist to ensure that the players’ individual needs were consistently met. Professional football players, on average, eat two to three times as many calories per meal as a regular guest, he said.
Well before the team’s arrival, UCLA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was already in motion preparing for this successful UCLA first by activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and collaborating to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for our NFL guests. UCLA’s EOC worked in conjunction with 10 EOCs in the region for more than a week, including those coordinated by the city, county and the NFL for Super Bowl LVI activities.
In preparation for the players, staff and guests’ stay at the Luskin Conference Center, planning meetings with campus stakeholders began in October 2021. The campus supported the Bengal’s practices at Wasserman Football Center, Spaulding Field and Drake Stadium, as well as hosted the AFC Media Day for international media outlets and a Super Bowl after-party celebration at Pauley Pavilion.
OEM assisted in coordinating campus stakeholders such as UCPD, UCLA Fire, Athletics, Recreation, Luskin Conferencing, Events & Transportation and Housing & Hospitality to ensure a state of readiness for various emergency scenarios ranging from security breaches, campus evacuations and mass casualty to emergency notifications and public messaging of stakeholder procedures and roles.
This is not the first time UCLA has served as a destination of choice for an NFL team. Last season, the New England Patriots also made the Luskin their home away from home while in town taking on the Chargers.