While more than 100 million people watched the Super Bowl last Sunday night on television, only about 70,000 fans got a seat inside Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. And of those ticketholders, only about 3,000 were part of the National Football League’s NFL On Location experience, the packages that turned the big game into a VIP extravaganza.
According to Dave Wintergrass, the NFL’s senior director of events, NFL On Location started as a corporate incentive product in 2006 at Super Bowl XL in Detroit. While it has since branched out to the consumer market, “the core of the business is incentives.”
What differentiates these packages from just, say, buying great seats for your high achievers? To start, the NFL can guarantee large seat blocks and offers separate dedicated parking and express entry lanes into the stadium. But the biggest perk is the “hospitality experience,” a party area in the stadium open to On Location participants for three hours before the game and two hours after the game. This year the entertainment included the Flutie Brothers Band (with former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie on drums) and pro skating demonstrations on an ice rink erected for the occasion. High-end catering, jumbo televisions, a green-screen photo booth, and appearances by some of the NFL’s current and Hall of Leaders players were also part of the experience.
Another highlight was the opportunity to go on the field after the game. After the awards ceremony, some On Location guests were allowed to walk around in a penned-off area not far from the main stage to take in the postgame atmosphere and watch some of the players doing television interviews.
The package pricing is tiered, varying mainly by seat location and whether or not the on-field experience is included. The game-day–only, per-person pricing for the Giants–Patriots matchup ranged from $2,499 to $6,899. Packages with hotel stays were also available.
Average group size is 12 to 20 people, Wintergrass estimates, but notes that groups of 100 or 200 aren’t unusual (and one company has already put a deposit down on 400 seats for the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans). No need to calculate what your group discount might be, he says. The fixed pricing is nonnegotiable.
However, the NFL does offer other event services. “Some clients want a lot more,” says Wintergrass, such as ground transportation, hospitality spaces and welcome rooms in their hotels, and special dinners at their hotel. “We can assist if the company doesn’t have its ownor incentive company. We can help you plan your whole event.”