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EVENT REPORT

How 'ESPN,' 'Playboy,' and 'Maxim' Stood Out Among Dallas Super Bowl Parties

Photo: Jessica D'Onofrio for BizBash

As in years past, men's glossies ESPN the Magazine, Maxim, and Playboy hosted some of Super Bowl weekend's most high-profile happenings this year. To ensure that their events stood out from the Super Bowl-party fray—and from each others' fetes—the brands employed everything from a Kid Rock performance to bumper cars. 

On Friday night, ESPN the Magazine's “Next V.I.P.” event took place at a Fort Worth ranch. With a live performance by Kid Rock, Wild West-themed cocktails, and mechanical bull rides, the country-style bash “contributed to a complete experience for sponsors, athletes, and other guests,” said Alyssa Muenkel, associate director of event marketing at ESPN.

The event drew around 2,000 guests, and Muenkel said the brand relied on its reputation to pull in the sizable crowd. “We stand out [from other Super Bowl parties] by being ESPN, worldwide leader in sports,” she said. “People [who attend our party] know they are getting a very high-quality event just by knowing the strength of the brand behind it.”

With no mechanical bulls, but plenty of other rides in sight, the Maxim party—billed as being “Powered by Motorola Xoom“—took on a state-fair theme complete with cotton-candy cocktails and a Ferris wheel. When asked about producing an event that would stand out, the magazine's corporate events director, Amanda Civitello, said, “What other parties? Maxim is in a league of its own when it comes to Super Bowl events. Where else could guests find bumper cars and cocktails over the weekend?” Held at Dallas's Centennial Hall at Fair Park on Saturday, the by-invite event drew some 2,500 guests, including celebrities, athletes, musicians, and Maxim advertisers.  

A similar celebrity-and-athlete-studded crowd of 2,500 attended Playboy's party, which took place at the temporary Bud Light Hotel on Friday night. Produced by the magazine's publishing partner, American Media Inc., the event had an around-the-world theme inspired by five cities that host Playboy Club locations. To honor the brand's heritage, the fete employed plenty of pinup-type staffers. Playboy Bunny dealers manned the blackjack tables in the Las Vegas-inspired area, and models posed as lifeguards in the Miami-themed space. Entertainment included a Chinese dragon dance in the “Macau” room and a late-night Snoop Dogg concert.