Super Bowl ‘Pitch Day’ gives Las Vegas businesses last chance to offer services to big game

Super Bowl ‘Pitch Day’ gives Las Vegas businesses last chance to offer services to big game

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The Davila family moved from South America to Las Vegas nearly two decades ago, and now there’s potential for them to help operate one of the largest media events in the world.

Migdalia Davila and her son, Miguel Davila, said they’ve made homemade arepas, empanadas, and other Venezuelan food from Rika Arepa Express off US95 on Flamingo since 2015.

This was after spending years gaining a following at different farmer’s markets throughout the valley.

“If (customers) are from Venezuela, they’ll typically be like, ‘Oh my god! This is just like my grandma makes it!’” Miguel said when asked for common reactions to their restaurant’s food.

But, they have eyes set on a bigger location to serve their authentic cuisine next year.

Rika Arepa Express is one of over 700 businesses that applied to NFL Business Connect.

Program Specialist David Waymer said those chosen to partake are put in a resource guide that lists local suppliers, which the NFL recommends to the vendors that operate parties, tailgates, and, of course, the big game itself.

The program specifically requires applicable businesses are at least 51% owned by a minority race, woman, disabled person, LGBTQ+ member, or veteran.

The program began back in 2015 and has maintained the same equity goal for each game’s location.

“For us, to be able to be at the Super Bowl, it tells an immigrant story of Las Vegas that I don’t think gets told a lot in the news,” Miguel said inside the Harry Reid Research and Technology Park Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, select businesses that already applied were given the opportunity to pitch their services one last time to the NFL.

Waymer said they brought certain Las Vegas industry leaders too, like UNLV and LVCVA officials, to judge those applicants who the program wanted more information about.

“To receive that kind of professional, industrial feedback, it really helps them up their game,” Waymer told reporters during the event. “It’s really important for our NFL vendors to get a really strong first impression of these suppliers so they can know how to best to fit them into this procurement process.”

However, the application list of 700 will be dwindled to around 200 by next week. Even if not chosen, Waymer said getting in front of the local leaders will help applicants benefit from the international attention far past game day.

“The hope is that (the resource guide) lives on in this marketplace so that these businesses can continue to get opportunities,” Waymer said, detailing how the guide is distributed to local businesses after game day.

As for the pitch process, the Davilas said they feel like good news will soon head their way.

“We have never done a pitch like this before, so just the experience of getting in front of judges and sharing our food is a huge win for us,” Miguel said while looking into his mother’s eyes. “We’re already better just by being here.”

A Business Connect spokesperson said the official list of businesses chosen for the program will be announced next Monday.



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