The Superbowl is America’s largest single event and this year in New York it is expected to break all records in terms of economic value in mainstream media and for the host region.
Estimates of a value to the New York / New Jersey region of as high as $600 million (€440 million) are being thrown around and nobody is questioning them.
Superbowl advertising on the TV networks carrying the game sold out long ago with a rack rate of €4 million for a 30 second slot. That is a significant roll of the dice and open only to those companies and brands that have the largest possible reach. Next week we will look back on some of the best examples of what the advertisers are doing in order to get some measure of a return on their investment.
When it comes to big brands, few are more so that Anheuser Busch. While Ireland wrestles with the problem of alcohol sponsorship of sport, the US has no such compunction. Bud Light is one of 29 host committee sponsors, alongside PwC, Citi, the New York Times, Pepsico, Goldman Sachs and more.
It is the only one though that has brought a brand new cruise liner to dock on the Hudson River and play host to 4,000 ‘special guests’ every night for five nights leading up to Sunday’s game.
There are 18 bars on board which will help shift some product and the guests will step ashore each night for a range of concerts featuring the Foo Fighters and Imagine Dragons.
For the broader audience the Committee has turned a stretch of Broadway around Times Square into Super Bowl Boulevard for the week. This involves street closures over seven blocks and the construction of a 600 metre toboggan run. All of a sudden hosting the Europe League final or last year’s Heineken Cup Final seems like a walk in the park.
Central to the communication around events, concerts, transport, weather and advertising is a social media presence that puts previous events in the shade and sets the bar for what will likely be the norm by the time the Rugby World Cup may come to Ireland in nine years time.
The nerve centre for this is a 1200 metre store front based Social Media Centre in the heart of downtown Manhattan.
This is the point where volunteers are monitoring and steering up to 50,000 social media conversations around the big event and from where the authorities will disseminate key announcements or changes to timetables that might be affected by snow forecast for Friday and possibly game day Sunday.
The NFL has a deal with Twitter for the site carrying exclusive content but when an event is as big as the Superbowl every form of media becomes dominated by it. Fox Sports has a temporary studio set up in Times Square which will serve as the centre for their pre-match coverage but it is likely to be through social that some of the smartest and most innovative marketing campaigns are launched and delivered.
Sport for Business will be keeping an eye out on your behalf and bringing you the best and the brightest.
Lesson for Sport: The ways in which sponsors act around major events is changing all the time. It’s about making a connection to an audience.
Lesson for Business: Sport delivers audience in a way that few other events or activities can hope to match.