MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA The DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl returned to Miami Beach, the location of the inaugural event during the 2006 Super Bowl weekend, on Saturday afternoon. The fourth annual flag football game, which pits celebrities and athletes against each other, attracted more than 10,000 people—nearly 10 times the attendance of its first game and 2,000 more than in Tampa last year.
The satellite TV brand reached out to Los Angeles-based Murphy Productions to design a temporary 8,000-seat stadium on Miami Beach between 21st and 22nd Streets to house the game. “Unfortunately we had to turn people away last year, so this year we wanted to be sure to give back to all of our fans by building this massive stadium,” said Jon Gieselman, DirecTV's senior vice president of advertising and public relations.
The horseshoe-shaped structure took 100 people more than 4,000 hours to build and required an additional 1.2 million pounds of sand to be brought in to stabilize the playing field and more than 6 million pounds of steel rigging. The event footprint also included an expanded 6,800-square-foot lounge for V.I.P.s, with Classic Party Rentals and Gainsville-based CL22 Productions providing lounge furniture and catering, respectively.
Gieselman added that celebrity involvement came easier this year. “We actually had celebrities reaching out to us, wanting to participate,” Gieselman said. “The event is definitely starting to build a reputation for itself.”
Big-name players this year included Jennifer Lopez, Twilight's Kellan Lutz and Taylor Lautner, actor Chace Crawford, and comedian Niecy Nash.
The event wrapped with a victory by the Spike HD team, coached by New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, followed by a 45-minute performance from the All-American Rejects on the stage at the open end of the stadium.