ATLANTA — The countdown to Super Bowl LIII right here in Atlanta is on, and while it may seem like there's plenty of time between now and Feb. 3, the host committee is already hard at work trying to find the best, most qualified local businesses to partner with.
On Wednesday, dozens of local businesses "pitched" themselves to the Atlanta Super Bowl committee, as part of their Business Connect Program, for a chance to eventually be selected as an NFL vendor for one of the many events surrounding Super Bowl LIII.
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Take Jamal Lewis, a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens, now pitching to be part of 2019's Super Bowl in a much different way.
Lewis, is a Douglas High School graduate famous for bulldozing linebackers on the field. Now, he owns a signage company here in Atlanta.
“Everybody feels like they’re your only client, and that’s how we deliver,” he told 11Alive during the Thursday's pitching event.
Down the hall, Paige Nathan from Food With Purpose used samples from her food truck partners to try and impress a panel of judges.
Nathan connects food trucks with big events, and if there's one thing anyone can guarantee is that food will be a big part of the party in February 2019.
"We thought about starting with that (taste tests), but I'm glad we did the presentation first and made them wait to eat," Nathan joked.
Despite all the pitches, Thursday wasn't about getting a contract, it was about perfecting the pitch, getting feedback and beginning a long process to get on a master-list of NFL-approved vendors.
To take part in the business connect program, companies have to have an office in one of the 20 metro Atlanta counties, be in operation for at least the last three years, be 51% owned by a minority, woman, veteran or LGBT individual.
To sign up at www.ATLSUPERBOWL53.com until May 15.
Lindsey Basye contributed to this report.