Five Questions for: Rodney Barreto

To say Rodney Barreto is a fixture in Miami’s business and public affairs landscape would be misleading only because when this public affairs consultant and former police officer takes on an issue, nothing is at all fixed – rather events move forward swiftly, effectively, and to the benefit of all. At the moment Miami – actually make that all of South Florida – is benefiting from Barreto’s role as chair of the Super Bowl Host Committee, as he managed – by pitching owners of the 32 NFL teams – to secure our city as the home to the world’s most widely watched sports event in 2020. Adding even more importance to an already enormous occasion is that it’s the 100-year anniversary of the NFL, a fact that might have escaped the entire league if Barreto and his team hadn’t dug it up for inclusion in their presentation. Barreto has been involved with Super Bowls since 1989 and this year, he welcomed SocialMiami editor Brett Graff to his Coral Gables office – which not incidentally showcases an array of ceremonial and signed footballs – where he answered Five Questions.

How many people will actually come to Miami for SuperBowl 2020?
It’s one of the world’s largest events. People from over 170 countries will arrive including more than 5000 members of the press. Only 62,000 people will go to the game but another 100,000 people will be here for parties and entertainment. It’s more than a game — it’s a weeklong celebration and it doesn’t matter who’s playing. For the 2020 game, Bayfront Park will be called “SuperBowl Live” and will offer free concerts and concessions. We’ll also set up a temporary marina on the water – as they did the boat show – with water activities and water shows.

What’s the likelihood of a city such as ours hosting an event this size?
Miami was out of the rotation for ten years – when we last hosted – but we’re back now that we’ve made improvements to the stadium. We tried to get public money but when that didn’t work, Steve Ross wrote a check for $550 million. At this point, we already submitted the paperwork for 2025, 2026 and 2027. I think we’ll get one of those.

Rodney Barreto with ceremonial footballs commemorating the next Super Bowl and the NFL's 100 year
What kind of an off-field team does it take to put together an event of this magnitude?
I hired a president, Mike Zimmer, who is a former head camera man at Channel 6 and someone who helped me do Super Bowl 2010 – so we know he executes well. Our director of events is Randi Freedman and director of security is Ray Martinez, former Miami Beach chief of police. They all have great experience.

We’ll still need 10K volunteers! I’ve set aside two tickets to the Super Bowl for one volunteer to win and Perry Ellis is designing the volunteer uniform.

I also have co-chairs including Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, Eric Silagy president of FPL, Matt Allen of the Perez Group, Jose Mas of MasTec and James Allen of Hard Rock is my Broward County Chair.

What sort of philanthropy is done through the Superbowl?
It’s funny you ask. The stadium is halfway between the Everglades and the ocean. We are talking to a donor who wants to put $500,000 toward a legacy project and the NFL already has a 25-year program we’re going to enhance with the Ocean Conservancy. We’re also working on a big campaign against plastic straws.

Okay Rodney Barreto, you’ve been around a while…we’ll need to know your Miami favorites…please…Restaurant? There are several…Le Petit Maison, Fiola is in my neighborhood and Christy’s Restaurant is my hometown favorite, I’ve been going there for 30 years. Favorite Miami activity? We are big boaters, I have three boats behind my house. I love anything outdoors; biking, fishing, hiking and in Miami, Shark Valley is a good walk. Culture? I like Perez Art Museum Miami and I love taking people to Wynwood Walls.

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