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SBD/September 9, 2013/Events and AttractionsPrint All
Bruno Mars has been confirmed as the halftime act for Super Bowl XLVIII and he will "be the youngest performer in recent years to helm" the show, according to Ray Rahman of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. The past decade’s list of main acts have included Beyoncé, Prince, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney -- "all of whom have had slightly-to-significantly more experience than the 27-year-old Mars." Given Mars' "cuddly, retro-pop appeal, he’s a perfect fit for the massively broad, general audience that the world’s highest-rated event of the year typically commands" (EW.com, 9/8). In Newark, Jay Lustig wrote picking Mars -- and "overlooking artists with stronger ties to the New Jersey/New York area, including Bon Jovi and Billy Joel -- solidifies a trend towards youth in halftime performers" (NJ.com, 9/8). THE MMQB's Peter King writes, "Halftime shows are done to attract a non-football audience, including the international audience. Halftime shows are designed to hit a different demographic. I couldn’t tell you the difference between Bruno Mars and a Mars bar. But 56-year-old men aren’t the focus of the league when it comes to halftime shows at the Super Bowl" (MMQB.SI.com, 9/9). Mars joined the cast of "Fox NFL Sunday" to discuss the halftime show and said, "It's an honor. We just got off tour so being able to come to New York City and announce this right now is incredible. We're celebrating for sure" ("Fox NFL Sunday," 9/8).
JERSEY SORE: In L.A., Flint & Kennedy wrote the New Jersey locale would "seem to require a homegrown act." However, Bruce Springsteen has "already played the Super Bowl and Bon Jovi is in disarray." Mars "might not be at the mega-star status of recent headliners ... but he's solidified himself as a scene-stealing performer" (LATIMES.com, 9/6). NBC's Natalie Morales noted some fans did not see Mars "as a good fit for the Super Bowl" and others wanted "a little more of a New Jersey/New York act." But Morales said Mars is "great live performer" and an "incredible live show." NBC's Matt Lauer: "Would it be great if for his last song he would be joined by Springsteen and Bon Jovi? That would be pretty cool" ("Today," NBC, 9/9).
BUILDING THE BUZZ: BILLBOARD's Andrew Hampp noted yesterday's news marks the "earliest reveal of a Halftime performer yet (by way [of] recent example, Beyoncé was revealed in October, while Madonna was announced after Thanksgiving)." Pepsi will "leverage the anticipation all NFL season long with a series of planned events called 'Are You Fan Enough'" (BILLBOARD.com, 9/8). USA TODAY's Laura Petrecca notes announcing the act five months before the game gives Fox, the NFL and halftime sponsor Pepsi "the whole season to hype their tie-ins." Pepsi North America CMO Simon Lowden said, "The more time we have, the more fun we can have." NFL Network Senior VP/Programming & Production Mark Quenzel said that the league will "capitalize on the fact that the performance will be in an open-air venue, rather than in a dome." He said the show will include "things that you historically would not expect for Super Bowl halftime" (USA TODAY, 9/9). In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports Pepsi's activation leading up to the show, billed as "Bruno Mars and Friends," will allow Pepsi "to generate considerable consumer interest and Web traffic as additional artists are revealed." Consumers also are expected to "be able to win access to rehearsals and other behind-the-scenes opportunities" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/9 issue).
Using the world’s most popular sport as a vehicle to drive social change was the theme of the day yesterday as Beyond Sport and streetfootballworld hosted a one-day Beyond Soccer event at PPL Park. The event was the precursor to the Beyond Sport Summit, which runs today through Wednesday and will include myriad topics on how organizations can best partner with sports teams and leagues to facilitate social change from national to grassroots levels. Keynote speaker Chris Lodgson set the tone for the day with an impassioned address in which he delivered “a wake-up call to action, a call to enlistment” to the 100-plus attendees. Lodgson told how his association with Street Soccer USA had helped pull him out of unemployment and poverty and he called soccer “a deciding factor in the fight against poverty in the United States.” Panelist Mike Geddes of streetfootballworld went further to say “Soccer’s social conscience is being tested like never before.” Yesterday's event focused solely on soccer, with panels ranging from the role of pro teams in their communities to the concept of shared value through sponsorships to the impact of mega-events, with insight on the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Brazil provides “the opportunity of a lifetime,” Geddes said. There is also a unique opportunity with Brazil because having the World Cup followed two years later by the Olympics to give organizations the opportunity to retool their strategy between events.
WHAT LIES AHEAD: As the summit shifts away from the soccer pitch, so the focus of the event broadens to topics as varied as children’s fitness, nutrition and safety, inner city sports programs and how to best attract investment. Speakers include NBA Commissioner David Stern, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, execs from the NFL, NBA and NHL and a host of public service groups. The event includes a reception tomorrow with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter hosted by the Eagles, 76ers, Phillies and MLS Union -- the first time, organizers say, the city’s professional teams have collaborated on a single event -- and culminates with the Beyond Sport Awards on Wednesday night.