Thinking Outside the Bowl
Every year’s Super Bowl seems to be better than the last. Whether it’s the halftime show, the commercials or the game itself, the fans want the ultimate entertainment, and Super Bowl delivers. For the NFL there’s little more important than fan experience, especially during Super Bowl week. That’s why they partner with bluemedia and GMR to execute the fan experience. The Super Bowl host city is practically taken over by the NFL, with dozens of event locations, and hundreds of graphics and ads from the NFL and its sponsors starting at the airport and appearing everywhere, from bus stops to malls to billboards. Watch this video to see how we pulled it off.
A Challenging Game
Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on February 4, 2018 was said to be the most complicated event in NFL history, and only the sixth Super Bowl to be held in a cold-weather city. The challenges of producing 10 days of events at more than 100 venues were anticipated by the NFL and its partners for months prior to the game. In addition to the weather, the compact footprint of the stadium and the tight setting of the buildings and businesses around it added to the complexity. The NFL couldn’t just take over the entire area around the stadium, because, even in snow, even during the Super Bowl, business in Minneapolis had to go on.
Knowing the possibilities of blizzards, freezing temperatures, wind and ice, materials experts at bluemedia had to start months earlier than usual for this Super Bowl. Typical vinyls used for graphics on windows and used outside for banners would not hold up in freezing temperatures. Stadium décor outside would also have to be reconsidered. Adding to the challenges, most bluemedia installers and laborers for Super Bowl aren’t used to working in snow, ice and freezing temperatures. They needed to be prepared for big changes in their work environment, and changes in their materials and equipment. In addition, with the tight working area around the stadium, the team had to work hand-in-hand with the city of Minneapolis to get approvals for cranes, trucks and any installations that might hinder the flow of traffic or require extra safety precautions for pedestrians.
Creativity and Research – A Winning Combination
bluemedia conducted thorough materials research and came up with multiple creative solutions for the décor at Super Bowl LII. For the skyways–enclosed pedestrian footbridges that sit above the streets connecting buildings all over Minneapolis–huge Super Bowl LII two-sided signs were hung on the inside of the windows as opposed to outside. This way, people both driving through the city and walking inside the skyways could see them, and the signs would not be affected by the weather.
A creative solution was required for the outside of the stadium as well. Rather than hanging vinyl that would hinder the views from inside the stadium’s glass wall panels, bluemedia created a 50×100-foot transparent mesh LED screen that lit up at night and could be seen for miles but not block out the windows.
The NFL wanted to bring excitement to the city for all – people in town for the game and all the events surrounding it, and Minneapolis residents. In addition to décor and events for the ten days prior to the game, they wanted the thrill of the Super Bowl to be felt around the city and at multiple hotels. bluemedia and partners GMR created a building projection for the NFL headquarters hotel that displayed both Super Bowl team logos and Minnesota’s Bold North theme. On the hotel’s exterior wall from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night leading up to the big game, the projection stood 180-feet tall and 145-feet wide, in bright, bold color. Inside the hotel, bluemedia used video mapping to project the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy in the lobby on a 21-foot tall wall. The projection changed patterns and colors to catch the eyes of visitors 24/7 leading up to the game. The projections took three days to install and required 10 31,000-lumen laser projectors.
To draw in fans and bring a captivating experience to Minnesotans and Super Bowl goers, bluemedia and GMR created an immersive 360-degree, 3D theater experience. The four-minute show was projected in bluemedia’s 50-foot wide, 30-foot tall dome, which bluemedia built in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. The show, themed Bold North by the NFL and written and created by bluemedia, featured beautiful 3D images of the bold Minnesota wilderness, followed by what else…? Football. Players running, making tremendous catches and finally, on the field at U.S. Bank Stadium, viewers had a front-row seat for the Super Bowl LII coin toss. The show was a hit, and word got around. Fans lined up in the cold and waited in line for hours to get inside the 55-seat dome. In all more than 27,000 people went through the dome during Super Bowl week.
Inside the state-of-the-art stadium, it was important to work with the architecture, design and colors in order to wow fans and meet the NFL’s high standards for décor. “We set out to make everything we manufactured and installed at the stadium look permanent, like it was always there,” said RJ Orr, EVP and Partner at bluemedia. “We worked on colors, materials and design for months to create a seamless, beautiful atmosphere, and it showed in the final results.”
At bluemedia, we strive for perfection in everything we do, whether it’s an 8-foot banner or décor and experiential technology for the Super Bowl. In fact, it’s our brand promise to Make It Perfect™. Working with partners like GMR Marketing makes it easier to live up to that promise. “People like to throw the word ‘partner’ around. A true partnership is a living, breathing thing. It takes both sides giving something and collaborating in order to achieve greatness,” said Orr. “That’s what we have with GMR. We worked together to help make this challenging Super Bowl spectacular.”
To make it all happen, there were 50 people on-site for installation and setup for a month, using cranes and lifts, placing and installing around 500,000 square feet of material. After the Eagles won their first Super Bowl, defeating the Patriots 41-33, bluemedia had one week to strike the install and leave Minneapolis.
“It’s critical to have incredible teamwork to pull off this magnitude of work, and we have that at bluemedia,” added President and partner, Darren Wilson. “I’m proud of the team and how they all come together, every time, to make the impossible possible.”
You and your team were awesome partners for the Championship Campus and CFP related events, and I wanted to thank you and let you know I really appreciated all you did.