e2k worked closely with the NFL, CBS and FOX, and host-team officials to coordinate the pregame and postgame ceremonies for the AFC and NFC Championship games on January 24th, 2010 in New Orleans and Indianapolis. This year’s ceremonies featured national anthem performances by Kris Allen, the winner of last year’s American Idol, and Jordin Sparks, American Idol 6th season winner. With both home teams winning, the e2k staff was on the field at the end of the game in the inevitable state of controlled chaos. In five minutes, over fifty staff and crew are mobilized to put a stage, police barricades, camera platforms, confetti cannons and trophy tables in place. At the same time the e2k and NFL staff are moving the owners, head coach, honorary captain, Fox talent and key players to the stage to make the trophy presentation when the network comes back to 40 million people. This is all happening in the midst of a wild celebration in front of 70,000 people—quite a scene. In New Orleans the situation was particularly precarious in that we did not know where the celebration would be until the last play of the game. Shannon Ellis was managing a production team in the Vikings locker room while Michael Olmstead and Ian Mayne were in the tunnel getting ready for a Saints victory. Peter Dergee, Maria Giannini and Tina Campos managed the Indianapolis events.
As our vision statement expresses, e2k believes in the power of events, but more specifically, the power of sports to bring people together and “enhance a sense of community. . .” This phenomenon was never realized more vividly that in New Orleans. The Saints had never hosted an NFC Championship game and they are one of the few teams that has never been to a Super Bowl. After years of frustration, this football team had the opportunity to uplift an entire city that had suffered so much in the aftermath of Katrina. Following the game, the streets were alive with people from all walks of life singing, dancing and partying as only New Orleans can—it was truly a spontaneous Mardi Gras! It was a powerful reminder of the true purpose of the work that we do.