I get asked a lot, “So how great is (was) the Super Bowl?”. My response is usually, "Are you talking about the game?". Seriously. It is a valid question. The Super Bowl for a Consumer Product Licensee is more than just a game. In fact, the game is the cherry on top of the sundae. This isn’t to say that the game isn’t good, fun, exciting, or a bucket list event. No doubt it is. However, the weekend is so unreal. There is so much more to this spectacle that no one sees when he or she settles in to watch the game, eat some food, and laugh at the commercials from the comfort of their home. There are events, parties, and a feeling in the air of the host city that isn’t possible to communicate with words. Heck, before you even get on a plane there is a huge box of product that shows up to your office with swag for the event: Super Bowl t-shirts, hats, scarfs, pullovers, and jackets. It is so exciting even two weeks before the event begins.
From the time you arrive in the airport, the host city is so happy you are there; they are welcoming you and encouraging you to take pictures while in their city. The taxis seems to be more active. The ever-present signs throughout the entire city remind you what event you are there to see. The roads are packed like sardines with cars, people, buses, and extra police. The hotels have a buzz about them that can be heard as you drive by outside. The doormen have an extra large smile. Everyone is excited for this massive event. Including you. Your heart rate is pounding through your chest. You start to wonder if you will miss anything and what should you do first.
What a welcome, Houston! At the airport sporting our Super Bowl swag.
After you check into the hotel the normal protocol is to meet in the lobby bar. Here you check in with other licensees, say hello to retailers that are being hosted, and briefly speak with current and retired NFL players as they pass through on their way to various events. Once you have said your hellos you are ready to check out the NFL House. What is the NFL House? Well, think of it this way... It is a building that the NFL rents out as a private party for three days during the event (Thursday through Saturday). Inside there is food, music, drinks, more food, events, a spa, shoe shines, player appearances, beauty shop, even more food, more drinks, and the entertainers. There are concerts in the evening. Throughout the day players show up for hours to talk, sign autographs, and take pictures with the VIP invited to this private event. Truthfully, I could live in this house every year. It seems like every year the NFL grows this house to be bigger and better.
Our guys with Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, Eric Berry & Cam Newton
As you pop in and out of the house there are parties to attend and people to see. Some of our crew's favorite parties are the Direct TV party (which is a concert), the 47 Brand party, the Media party, and if you're really lucky, the players party or the owners party. The Direct TV party is a hard ticket, but it is worth it. Usually this event is a concert for 5,000 people with unreal entertainment. The last three years we've seen Taylor Swift, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Rihanna perform. Needless to say, it is fun night full of drinks, friends, and awesome jams. On a yearly basis the 47 Brand party is a must. Whether they are renting out a warehouse and having a fashion show or throwing a house party, these guys never disappoint. Parties are a big part of the overall event. All the companies involved want to illustrate their gratitude to the league for the difference they (NFL) make in their business.
One of our other favorite events is the Consumer Product Brunch. This is always done so well. Ice Sculptures, shrimp, mimosas, Bloody Marys, fruit, cheese plates, and so many other fabulous foods that seem to never end. This is a small gathering of licensees and retailers. It is the NFL’s way of saying thanks to the group of people that help increase the power of the NFL brand by selling products in the marketplace to their fans. Just when you are full and think “this was perfect”, you step out into a courtyard where there is a group preparing a fresh crawfish boil and another group rolling fresh cigars. It's sensory overload even when you are prepared for it. It’s too much, but you love it. You leave with a full belly, new friends, memories with old friends, and a gift bag that is top shelf.
Right before the Super Bowl game, the NFL puts on the largest tailgate party of the year. This year in Houston it was in a large warehouse right beside the stadium. I bet there were 10,000 people in the building. The drinks are flowing. The music is blaring. The food seems to be never ending as you try to take in the entire event by walking around the massive space. The musicians/shows at this event are an event by themselves. This year Fitz and the Tantrums opened up the party with an awesome 1-hour set. They we're on their feet the entire time giving us some real entertainment. Right after their set, The Zach Brown Band came on stage and really stole the show. They really fired the crew up and made the time at the tailgate so much fun.
Our VP of Business Development with Michael Fitzpatrick from Fitz and the Tantrums | Our crew at the NFL Tailgate Party | Top notch branded details everywhere you look
So you see what I mean about the game?