How Did Thanksgiving Become Game Day for the NFL?

How Did Thanksgiving Become Game Day for the NFL?

By: Sara Warden

2 min read NOVEMBER 2019 — On Thanksgiving, there is only one thing that comes close to turkey in importance for Atlanta sports fans, and that’s the NFL’s game schedule. This year, the Atlanta Falcons will be one of three teams hosting the Thanksgiving Day games, facing off again the New Orleans Saints. 

This will be the Falcons’ fourth Thanksgiving Day game, and having lost against the Saints last year on their home turf, this one is sure to be a must-watch. Those fans going to watch the game live could also feel a little pain in their wallets: Last year’s Saints-Falcons game was the most expensive Thanksgiving Day game for fans, with an average ticket price of $518 on the secondary market.

No doubt, Thanksgiving football is big business for the NFL. In 2018, NBC’s primetime viewing of the Falcons-Saints game brought in an 11.4/24 rating, up 18% from 2017’s Washington-New York Giants primetime game on NBC and the network’s best Thanksgiving night NFL performance since 2015. For the rights to a selection of high-profile games that includes the Thanksgiving game, Super Bowl Broadcasts and Thursday Night Football, NBC is paying $1.1 billion a year to the NFL.

That explains why the tradition stuck, but why did it start? Although it doesn’t quite go back to The Mayflower, the Thanksgiving game is a long-standing tradition spanning back as far as 1920. Political upheaval during the time meant the games were sporadic, but eventually in 1934, George A. Richards bought the Portsmouth Spartans, renamed them the Detroit Lions and gave Thanksgiving another try. 

This was largely a solution to the problem of low attendance during the year, but the Thanksgiving game became a rousing success. First, people already had the day off work and second, it became an escape for those looking to perhaps spend less quality time with family. More than 26,000 people booked tickets weeks in advance and reportedly thousands more were turned away at the gate.

In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys saw the success of the “Detroit Lions vs…” games and decided to get in on the action. Since then, both teams have played each year, with one additional game added to the roster. This year’s Falcons-Saints game will be played in the new, state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz stadium – “the finest sports and entertainment facility in the world,” according to Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council.

The stadium was funded by a largely taxpayer-based system, in a $2.4 billion investment based on bonds and hotel taxes. And Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms believes the stadium may allow Atlanta to host many more high-profile sporting events, including these popular Thanksgiving games. “I think it’s well worth the investment, and when you look at the long-lasting impact and our ability to showcase Atlanta, sometimes you have to spend a little money to make a little money,” she told USA Today.

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Lights, Cameras … Showcasing Miami’s Rich Movie History

Lights, Cameras … Showcasing Miami’s Rich Movie History

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019— Miami’s beautiful beaches, art-deco buildings and culturally diverse neighborhoods have been the setting for numerous movies and TV shows over the years. To showcase the city’s history in the film industry, Miami Beach recently launched its “Filmed on the Beach” interactive portal.

The digital film tour webpage features an in-depth look at the movies and shows shot on the island through the years. The portal features maps of South Beach, Mid Beach and North Beach that indicate locations where movies, TV shows and music videos have been shot. 

“We want our residents to better connect to our city’s history as well as inspire future filmmakers to follow in some of the famous footsteps,” Matt Kenny, the city’s director of tourism and culture, stated in a press release. “The interactive tool will be monumental in doing so and reminding individuals why Miami Beach was, and still remains, a cultural icon on the silver screen,” he said. 

Users can explore the locations, types of films and fun facts about each production by scrolling through key points of the city, marked with stars, on the interactive maps. South Beach is the neighborhood with the highest number of productions. This internationally recognized neighborhood has had a total of 32 productions.

In 1964, international attention descended on South Beach with Muhammad Ali’s famous 5th Street Gym and his upset victory over Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Among the 1960s shoots that stand out are The Jackie Gleason Show TV series and the filming of Elvis Presley’s Clambake. In the 1980s, South Beach and Ocean Drive were transformed into magnets for film, advertising, fashion, art and culture with shows such as Miami Vice

Hollywood’s love for South Beach continued with movies such as Scarface, The Birdcage, the Bad Boys trilogy, TV shows such as The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Burn Notice and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and numerous music videos.



Distinguished by its luxury hotels, Mid Beach has also been the setting for several films. Many of these notable movies took place around the Fontainebleau Miami Hotel, which according to Filmed on the Beach was the favorite hang-out of Frank Sinatra and served as the backdrop for his 1960 television special. The iconic scene of the golden-painted Bond Girl in 1964’s Goldfinger movie and scenes from Scarface and The Bodyguard were also filmed in the Fontainebleau. 

Last but not least, the beautiful North Beach, which is often a place to get away from the noise of South Beach, has attracted many movies and music video producers as well. Among the most iconic films recorded in the area: The Godfather II. The Beatles’ live performance on The Ed Sullivan Show was also shot here. According to Filmed on the Beach website, it is said that the Beatles spent eight days a week in Miami Beach. Bad Boys III, Bay Watch and music videos from the Jonas Brothers and Pitbull are some of the recently recorded productions in the area. 

To maintain this rich history of the local film industry, Miami’s Film Production Grant Program is offering grants for at least nine feature films, music videos, television shows, documentaries, short films and web series who choose to shoot in Miami Beach.  


To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Filmed on the Beach: 

City of Miami Beach: 

Miami Beach Arts & Culture: 

Film Production Grant Program: 

Record Numbers Flock to Philly, Again

by Yolanda Rivas


2 min read AUGUST 2019 — Greater Philadelphia experienced its ninth straight year of record tourism in 2018. Public and private organizations in the sector are making multiple efforts to elevate tourism to the city and maintain its record-setting pace. 

Enhancements to the city’s historical, cultural and dining options, such as the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the stadiums in South Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art renovations and a number of new hotels on the horizon are some of the examples of improvements to the city’s offerings. 

“We’re working on a partnership to significantly grow our brand globally while also making a further commitment in Philadelphia with a new project that will dramatically enhance the architectural canvas for residential real estate,” Larry Korman, president of luxury extended-stay brand AKA Hotel Residences, told Invest:. 

Philadelphia’s weekend occupancy rate remains in the low- to mid-90%, also record highs, as the city of brotherly love attracts both business and leisure travelers. Local hotels, such as the Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown, are committed to highlighting and complementing the communities where they operate through area-inspired decor and modern design.  

“We have locally commissioned art in our hotel, and since we sit on the Avenue of the Arts, our decor is themed with a nod to arts and music. We sourced most of the art and decor from local artisans, vendors and companies to ensure that we are supporting the community in every way possible,” Jerry Rice, General Manager at Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown, said in an interview with Invest:.

To meet the demands of those who want a unique and intimate experience, some local brands are making the transition to boutique hotels. That is the case of former Courtyard by Marriott, which has been reborn as The Notary Hotel. According to the hotel’s general manager, Jim McSwigan, some of the elements of renovation include reimagined rooms, public workspaces for guests, a new shower experience in all rooms and a modern fitness center. 

“We have maintained an element of history with 1920s-inspired decor and furnishings, while introducing a modern feel. We offer the latest and greatest when it comes to providing guests with a great space, not only for business meetings, but for social events, weddings and any type of celebration,” McSwigan said.  

Another main driver for visitors and a key economic developer is the arts sector, and Philadelphia’s world-class music institutions are putting the city in the global spotlight. Such is the case of Opera Philadelphia and its Festival O, for example, which has had a  local, national and international impact. David Devan, general director and president of Opera Philadelphia, pointed out in an interview with Invest: the importance of the festival in creating local, enlarged artistic partnerships and developing a new, mostly young audience. “That is the biggest impact; we now have more customers than five years ago. We work with Visit Philadelphia, PHL Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other agencies that promote the city and create local pride,” he said.

“Because we do so much new work, what we are doing is affecting the field of opera nationally in terms of the field celebrating and participating in contemporary art activity. Internationally, we have become recognized as one of the most innovative opera companies in the United States,” Devan stated.

This year, Philly’s official tourism marketing agency VISIT PHILADELPHIA is focusing on opportunities in the multicultural market, specifically Latinx, LGBTQ and African American audiences. 


To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

AKA Hotel Residences: 

Opera Philadelphia: 

Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown:

The Notary Hotel: