SBJ/Jan. 13-19, 2014/Facilities

Populous expects College Football Playoff role to continue

Don Muret
The same group responsible for mapping the Super Bowl over the past 30 years will most likely be doing the same thing for the College Football Playoff’s new championship game in 2015.

Populous has been consulting for the CFP’s first title game, set for Jan. 12, 2015, at AT&T Stadium, said Jerry Anderson, founder and senior principal of the architect’s Denver-based event division. The group “will likely have a working role with them as they develop their event over the next year,” Anderson said. As of last week, no contract had been signed.

Anderson’s 24-person group has expertise in organizing the logistical challenges facing large-scale events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, NHL Winter Classic and MLB All-Star Game. All four events use Populous to help form a cohesive plan for all their activities.

It’s Populous’ job to do the “overlay” for those events, the term Anderson uses to describe the master plan officials develop for operations, programming and the construction of temporary facilities supporting the permanent venues.
“We put people on the ground at many of these events similar to Super Bowl to assist the owner and event operator,” he said.

The CFP championship would be a new piece of work for Populous. The firm did not work with the BCS for its events, Anderson said.

Another new piece of business for Populous’ event group is Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the track moves ahead with a $140 million renovation. It is working with Activate, the architect’s branding division, to help tie everything together at the sprawling complex.

“What we’ve done is look quite a bit at crowd flow and used a lot of the techniques and experience we’ve gained from other events to work with them on how we can enhance the gates and movement,” Anderson said.

In addition to all those events, Populous is working ahead to plan the next two Super Bowls in Phoenix and San Francisco, the five remaining NHL outdoor games this season, the 2014 Final Four at AT&T Stadium, the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and the 2014 MLB All-Star Game in Minnesota.

“We have folks down in Rio and are working on an Olympic bid for the Ukraine,” Anderson said. “We have a very good runup of projects. It’s become a very robust part of Populous.”

Populous’ event division staff is spread out among Denver, the firm’s home office in Kansas City and international offices in London and Brisbane. Anderson started the practice in Denver before Populous acquired his firm in 2002.

> RAPID MOVEMENT:If you’re in the market to buy a Colorado Rapids-branded snowboard, there were 14 remaining for sale last week at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and on Altitude Authentics, the team’s retail website.

The Colorado Rapids are selling branded snowboards produced by Never Summer.
Photo: COURTESY OF COLORADO RAPIDS
The spiffy-looking boards aren’t cheap. They sell for $550, the same price that the snowboard’s manufacturer, Never Summer, charges for the SL unit, its most popular board, said Wayne Brant, the Rapids’ director of marketing and fan development.

The Rapids snowboards are an extension of the team’s Colorado for Life marketing campaign that began last year and extends into the 2014 season. It’s a pride thing in a region known for an active outdoor lifestyle.

“You see as many state flags flying at our games as Rapids flags,” Brant said.

The team bought 40 boards for $250 each and have sold six since Oct. 19, when they were unveiled during Fan Appreciation Night at the team’s final match of the 2013 season, Brant said. Twenty boards are in the hands of the team’s marketing department to use for promotions.

“The goal wasn’t to make a ton of money from this,” he said. “Never Summer gave us a good deal.”

Patrick Combs, art director for Kroenke Sports Enterprises, owner of the Rapids, served as graphic designer for the special-edition snowboards.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

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