For the “first time in two decades, there will not be an NFL Experience during Super Bowl XLVIII next year in New York/New Jersey, as organizers could not find a space suitable to hold the huge festival that allows sponsors to interact with fans,” according to Terry Lefton in this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Al Kelly said, “The Super Bowl Boulevard will serve as that major fan engagement activity.” The NFL from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 “will turn a 10-block stretch of Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard, from 34th Street to 44th Street.” Kelly said that Super Bowl Boulevard will “be able to house much of the sponsor activity that occurs during the NFL Experience.” Kelly: “You can put some of it on the street. You can roll out a field on the street. You can put a concert stage out there. You can put the Wilson football factory out on the street.” Still, the lack of an NFL Experience “surprised many sponsors who said they were unaware of the decision as of last week in New Orleans.” But Kelly said, “We looked at every venue from Greenwich to Princeton, and there just are no places big enough.” He added that the “novel site of next year’s game led to the decision with the NFL to try a new approach on the Experience” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/11 issue).
LOOKING AT OPTIONS: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Lefton, Kaplan & Ourand report the NFL will “have an extensive contingency plan in place to account for bad weather.” The league is “considering various options that include the possibility of delaying the contest several days in the event of a weather emergency on game day.” Sources said that the league “even could decide to play the game on Saturday if faced with an ominous forecast.” A source said, “We have to look at all the angles: storm arriving day-of-game, storm arriving prior to game, storm arriving after game.” If the game has to be rescheduled, a “host of complications would arise.” If the game were “played later than on Sunday, fans would have to reschedule flights, something that would become especially problematic considering potential airport closings.” Hotel accommodations also “would come into play, as fans would need to extend their stays” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/11 issue).
WEATHER REPORT: The AP’s Tim Dahlberg wrote the weather is “not something the NFL needs to be terribly worried about.” The league can “do no wrong, and that won't change just because the elements will intrude on the next Super Bowl.” The weather “might even make it more interesting for the 100 million or so people who will be watching in the comfort of their own living rooms” (AP, 2/9). NBC Sports Network’s Dave Briggs said of Winter Storm Nemo, which hit the northeast this past week, “The Super Bowl is a year out, what if this happens in a year?” (“The Crossover,” NBCSN, 2/8). Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said of next year’s Super Bowl, “There could be major problems next year if a storm hits on Super Sunday. What do they do, move the game to Monday? Move the game to Tuesday? Move the game to the following Sunday?” Florio added if the Super Bowl is in a cold weather city, “you make sure there’s a roof over the place so you can still play the game even if it snows 20 inches, except in Minnesota where the roof could’ve caved in” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 2/8).
SECURITY BREACH? USA TODAY’s Chris Chase reports a “seven-minute video that appears to show two college students sneaking into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome” became a “viral sensation” this past weekend. The clip shows two men who are “students at Savannah State University, walking past police barricades, sneaking through tunnels, getting assistance from a helpful security guard and, in an anticlimactic finish, strolling into the Superdome without incident, just in time for Beyonce’s halftime performance.” The NFL yesterday said that it “was aware of the issue.” If the video is “the real deal, the league will be looking for answers regarding the lax security” (USA TODAY, 2/11).