The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events that happens in America. Can you imagine planning something like that? Millions of viewers, thousands in the stadium, the biggest names in music for a half time show… Even for the most seasoned meeting planners such a responsibility would be overwhelming. To learn a little about how this works, I was able to catch a few minutes from Joanna Hunter, who gave me a bit of inside information on how it all comes together and what to expect this year.
The Chicago Event Planner (TCEP):How is the location of the Super Bowl chosen each year?
Joanna Hunter (JH): Years in advance of the game, teams and their cities submit bids to host the Super Bowl and the team owners vote to choose the locations for upcoming games.
TCEP: What factors go into deciding who the half time talent is?
JH: We have 12 minutes to put on the best show as part of the biggest event in sports and entertainment. It has to feel as exciting to viewers at home just like the fans in the stadium. We don’t look only for the most popular artists but the ones who also have exceptional performance skills. Last year Beyonce gave an excellent performance that people were excited to see – she has a reputation as not only a great artist but an excellent performer. This year we’re thrilled that Bruno Mars will be taking the stage. He’s very talented and we know he will wow the audience.
TCEP: Do you work with any event management companies to help organize the Super Bowl or do you work strictly with an in-house team?
JH: It’s the Super Bowl – it’s a huge event so for some things we handle them in house but we do work with outside vendors and events companies as well.
TCEP: Is there anything special fans should be especially excited about this year?
JH: This year we started with the Super Bowl Kickoff Spectacular over the Hudson River live from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ on Monday, January 27th. The Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered by GMC is new. We have transformed 13 blocks of Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard – there will be musical performances from Wednesday, January 29th – Saturday, February 1st. Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered by GMC will kick off with the arrival of the Vince Lombardi Trophy via FedEx truck at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck will carry the Vince Lombardi Trophy from the FedEx truck to the trophy display at 44th Street. The Marching Cobras of New York will be on hand to celebrate the arrival of football’s most prestigious award.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 the NFL revealed the Super Bowl Roman Numerals– the highly anticipated bright lights on Broadway at 43rd Street that frame the 20-feet tall “XLVIII”. As part of the unveiling, fans enjoyed the sounds and sights of The Boys Choir of Harlem, Tony and Grammy winning Broadway musical Jersey Boys and New York City’s legendary dance company, the Rockettes. The Numerals will be revealed by a counterweight system behind a 30- by 8-foot LED screen during the finale of the show.
The Boulevard’s main performance location at 40th Street will transform daily allowing fans to meet some of their favorite NFL stars for free autographs from 12 – 5 p.m. at the Autograph Stage Engineered by GMC, before transitioning to the Concert Stage Presented by Pepsi with musical acts at 7:30 p.m. each night. Also there is the NFL Shop at Super Bowl, Macy’s Herald Square.
Needless to say there is a lot of work that goes into putting together the Super Bowl, airing Sunday, February 2nd. I would say “be sure to tune in” but who are we kidding – who doesn’t watch the Super Bowl?!