By Jenny Berg Posted February 6, 2012, 10:57 AM EST
Super Bowl XLVI celebrations started days before the Giants popped the cork off the first bottle of Champagne. As a first-time host city, Indianapolis had a “hunger to ensure an impactful event,” said Chris Gahl, spokesperson for the convention and visitors association.
Expecting more than 150,000 global visitors in town for the game, the city funneled a reported $12 million into building Super Bowl Village. Billed as an “interactive festival of football,” the activation took over three blocks of Georgia Street, was free and open to the public, and offered everything from zip line rides to ice sculptures to a Bret Michaels concert from January 27 through Sunday.
Plus, there were the splashy affairs hosted by magazine, liquor, and other types of brands. “We [were] expecting more than 1,000 private jets on the ground, and more than 130 private events in Indianapolis in just six days,” Gahl said.
Robert Tuchman, president of Elite Experiences, worked with corporations to develop V.I.P. Super Bowl packages and partnered with Maxim for its events over the weekend. He told us in the days leading up to the game, “the party scene finally feels like it's back to 2006, prior to our economy falling off a cliff. It's been a slow climb the last few years at Super Bowl, but this year, it seems like everyone and everybody is having an event.”
Hosts included Pepsi, which offered a concert from Latin artists Alejandra Guzman and Larry Hernandez for 3,500 guests at its Musica Super Bowl Fan Jam on Wednesday night at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Bud Light took over a 180-room Hampton Inn from Thursday through Sunday, splashing its logo on everything from pillow mints to shampoos to create the Bud Light Hotel. The activation hosted concerts from artists such as Pitbull and the Barenaked Ladies.
Within the beer brand's temporary digs, Playboy hosted a Friday-night party replete with aerialists and a Mini Cooper displayed in a peep-show style installation. Other magazine bashes included Maxim's at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Saturday night. With a performance from Ludacris, the event had a superhero theme and activations for Tabasco, Patrón, Paul Mitchell, and Coca-Cola. Also on Saturday, Rolling Stone's first Super Bowl party took over a warehouse space in downtown Indianapolis and celebrated the 150th anniversary of Bacardi with a Cuban theme and plenty of product samples.
DirecTV held its annual Celebrity Beach Bowl at Victory Field, where famous participants including Snoop Dogg competed on a sandy football field in front of 10,000 fans. And on Saturday night, the company hosted a party that offered everything from a cathedral-inspired bar to Katy Perry singing in a football jersey.