Super Bowl XLVIII brought football's championship game to the New York region for the first time, and brands like Bud Light, Fox Sports, ESPN, DirecTV, and Time Warner Cable stepped up with events worthy of the world's biggest stage.
While the game itself was played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, most of the major events took place at venues throughout Manhattan. From intimate gatherings with A-list talent to the 13-block-long Super Bowl Boulevard fan fest along Broadway, this year's events celebrated the host city through venue choice, decor, and “local” entertainers like Jay Z.
For as many opportunities as New York offered, though, it also had drawbacks for event planners. Premiums for venues, vendors, and permits drove up budgets and created bureaucratic headaches.
“It's extremely expensive here,” said Lauren Robinson, event marketing manager at ESPN. “I was expecting it, but I wasn't expecting it to be as crazy as it was. And because this event was in our backyard in terms of clients and agencies, everyone is here. You're not used to that, so your numbers, money-wise and capacity-wise, inevitably go up.”
Cynthia Lopell, event producer with CL22 Productions, said she dealt with several layers of city bureaucracy to erect a 88,000-square-foot tent at the Hudson River Park's Pier 40 for DirecTV's Celebrity Beach Bowl and Super Saturday Night concert.
“In this venue, we had to jump through hoops,” she said, citing examples such as having five years' worth of driving records on file for anyone who drove a golf cart. Building codes required the on-site kitchens to have commercial ovens rather than propane, and they had to have two elevators to the interior balcony that wrapped around three sides of the tent. The reward for sticking it out was a custom venue for 6,000 people.
Here's a look inside the week's biggest Super Bowl parties and events.