SBJ/Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2014/In Depth

Behind the scenes at the Super Bowl

Meet some of the people who will make sure this week’s show goes off without a hitch

Bud Light’s captain
Mike Sundet
Vice president, sports and entertainment marketing, Anheuser-Busch InBev

Sundet has helped transform run-of-the mill hotels in the host Super Bowl city into Bud Light Hotels four times. It’s
an excruciatingly detailed exercise, with a new wrinkle this year: the Bud Light Hotel is on a 4,000-person Norwegian Cruise Line ship docked off New York City’s West Side. “We set lofty goals of having the best event at a New York Super Bowl, while entertaining 10 times as many,” Sundet said.

The ship arrives this week, when hundreds of workers will have fewer than 40 hours to fashion an “immersive brand experience,” including 2,500 Bud Light-branded pillows and towels, and 6,000 bottles of Bud Light-logoed shampoo. The installation extends to the USS Intrepid next door and across the West Side Highway. It will take 1,500 man-hours to transform the space, which will be used for four days of parties and concerts.

“It’s exponentially larger than anything we’ve done,” Sundet said, “but when a key retailer tells me it’s an unbelievable experience, then I know it’s worth it. … The really scary thing is that some of my team has already visited Phoenix to see about next year.”



The stadium’s go-to guy
Dave Duernberger
Vice president, facility operations, MetLife Stadium


Duernberger is the New Meadowlands Stadium Co.’s No. 2 man at the host Super Bowl facility behind Brad Mayne, MetLife Stadium’s president and CEO. Duernberger will work hand in hand with the NFL on Super Bowl operations, which includes construction, field maintenance, union trades and in-house broadcasting/engineering. He will draw upon 34 years of experience in building management, the last 15 of which have been spent operating sports venues.

Duernberger knows MetLife Stadium like the back of his hand. The joint venture running the stadium hired him in April 2009, one year before the facility opened.



The producer
Greg Jewell
Coordinating producer, “Sunday NFL Countdown,” ESPN

Forget the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman or Broncos’ Peyton Manning. ESPN started planning stories for its Super Bowl pregame show a year ago.

Twelve months ago, Jewell came up with features that ESPN is going to use during this year’s Super Bowl pregame
show. One, called “Finding Your Family,” talks about how players from the winning Super Bowl team find their families just after the final gun, as the confetti falls.

“We always hope we have two or three of those special things like that in the bank,” said Jewell, who will travel to Manhattan from Bristol, Conn., on Thursday to be on-site.

By the fall, Jewell has about 50 percent of the Sunday pregame show mapped out. This year that includes a heavy emphasis on New York, with Gotham notables like Joe Namath, Spike Lee and John McEnroe providing voice-overs. ESPN also licensed George Benson’s “On Broadway” and Alicia Keys’ “Streets of New York” for its telecast.

“We try to make sure the Super Bowl city is as much a character as the teams and the matchup,” Jewell said. “I’d say we started sitting down in November to map out our plans in terms of what we’re shooting in the city and who are going to be our New York voices.”



Directing Boulevard traffic
Mary Pat Augenthaler
Vice president, events, NFL


Whether it’s Super Bowl Boulevard, the NFL Tailgate party, or the new league pop-up restaurant, one theme is constant: Mary Pat Augenthaler is behind the scenes making sure it all works.

The No. 2 executive in the events division for the NFL, Augenthaler has been working on Super Bowl Boulevard for two years. Shutting down 13 blocks in the heart of midtown Manhattan for a football-themed festival over four days is no easy feat. She also worked on Forty Ate, the NFL’s pop-up restaurant in Times Square, where a table can be had for the entirety of Super Bowl week for $50,000.

Augenthaler is also a key gatekeeper to the tailgate party the day of the game, where celebrities and industry types congregate before heading into the stadium.



Serving it up
Bill Lohr
General manager, Delaware North Sportservice, MetLife Stadium
Lohr

Eric Borgia
Executive chef, Delaware North Sportservice, MetLife Stadium

A pair of executives with Delaware North Sportservice will be in the food and beverage trenches at MetLife Stadium.

Lohr oversees all aspects of food, beverage and retail operations at the stadium, covering 75 full-time staff and 3,000 Super Bowl game-day workers.

Lohr’s career in sports started in 1991 at the Meadowlands as a retail buyer for Facility Merchandising Inc. He worked stints for Aramark and SMG Savor before Sportservice hired
Borgia
him in August 2009 to head its operation at MetLife Stadium.

Borgia oversees all culinary operations at the stadium, including the 300 suites and multiple club spaces, and look for him to bring a personal touch. He played a key role in developing the vendor’s Home Field Advantage brand focusing on New York and New Jersey cuisine, which includes a recipe for his grandmother’s meatballs and red sauce served in a hoagie sandwich.


— Compiled by Don Muret, Daniel Kaplan, Terry Lefton and John Ourand

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