Posted February 9, 2006, 12:00 AM EST
Before the Pittsburgh Steelers trounced the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, event marketers filled the Motor City with corporate-sponsored parties, many of them using booze and babes to market their brands and products to sports fans and big clients in town for the game. Three magazines vied for visibility the eve of the big game, with Playboy, Maxim, and Sports Illustrated all hosting big bashes around town. While SI drew the largest crowd that night—2,600 guests at the Emerald Theatre in Mt. Clemens—Maxim (2,000 guests) and Playboy (1,600 guests) competed for the splashiest party title. With all the skin on display, both soirees drew significant attention. (USA Today's Chris Colston wrote of the Maxim party, “This event was so hot, literally, hundreds of bare-shouldered, bare-legged 20-somethings in plunging necklines braved the snow and wind for almost two hours just for a chance of admittance.")
While Maxim's rock opera-inspired party seemed to feel like the wilder of the two, Playboy's bunny-filled bash at Detroit City Airport gave guests more access to the celebrities, who mingled and hung out with the rest of the guests in the same area, whereas guests at Maxim's bash only saw celebrities as they were squired to the V.I.P. areas. (Make sure to check out our stories on all three magazine's bashes.)
An honorable mention goes to Diddy's Friday night Cashmere Luxe party at the Elysium Lounge, where the big news of the evening was that Diddy himself reportedly didn't show up at his own party until 12:45 AM. Guess he had other parties to attend.
Other events of note: Wednesday DaimlerChrysler hosted the Salute to Champions concert at the Firehouse, and AOL's NFL Experience, an 800,000-square-foot football showcase full of activities, opened to the public at the Cobo Center.
Detroit's annual Motown Winter Blast—an event that debuted in January 2005 to start the countdown to the Super Bowl, hosted by the Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee, and produced by Jonathan Witz & Associates—took over the city's Campus Martius Thursday. This year's event featured a life-size ice sculpture of the Cadillac SLR—one of the event's sponsors—carved by ice sculpture company Icescapes, a giant 200-foot snow slide, ice-skating, sled-dog races, snowshoeing, and snowmobile demos. The Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash took over the State Theatre, with performances by Kanye West, Nickelback, Train, and the Goo Goo Dolls. Video game manufacturer Electronic Arts hosted its 12th annual EA Sports Madden Bowl, a video game tournament at the Colony Club. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Alex Smith defeated seven other NFL players at EA's hot-selling Madden NFL '06 game, played on XBox 360s. The other notable athlete and celeb draws on Thursday were the Reebok hospitality suite, and the FHM Players Party hosted by Jonathan Vilma of the New York Jets and model Vida Guerra at Club Envy. Playing card company Upper Deck hosted a big event at the Elysium Lounge—ESPN.com's Darren Rovell ranked it the best party of the week—on Thursday as well.
On Friday, the Budweiser-sponsored, weekend-long Bud Bowl kicked off at Tiger Stadium, where Snoop Dogg performed. Also on Friday was the National Football League Players Association's NFL Players party at the Detroit Opera House, with performances by LL Cool J and Ciara, and porn star Jenna Jameson hosted the Vivid/Club Jenna Bowl Party with fellow porn stars at the Zoo Bar. ESPN the Magazine feted its Next issue with a party at the Colony Club, part of a weeklong promo that took over eight floors of Centaur, a loft building in downtown Detroit.
Saturday afternoon saw two more celeb events: the Gridiron Glamour celebrity fashion show and brunch fund-raiser at the Ritz-Carlton Dearborn, and Cadillac's Super Bowl Grand Prix celebrity go-kart race at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.
Other significant Saturday bashes: Detroit native Eminem hosted the Shady Bowl party with his label Shady Records at the State Theatre, with Biz Markie manning the turntables. ABC Sports and ESPN hosted a dinner at the Detroit Institute of Art, with Lionel Richie performing. Snoop Dog performed at his own event at the Vault Saturday night following his Snooper Bowl kids football game at the Pontiac Superdome. The Taste of NFL tasting event fund-raiser took over Novi exhibition and conference center, benefiting local food banks, and Ebony magazine and Red Bull both hosted Saturday events as well.
The game on Sunday was followed by dueling postgame parties: the PlayStation Game Over party at the Gem Theatre, and CompuWare and Spin magazine's Super ball at CompuWare's downtown headquarters.