Between the excitement of the pre-games, the events leading up to it, and the game itself, the Super Bowl is the largest and most watched sporting event in the United States, viewed by 148.5 million people yesterday. Every year, families, friends, and football fanatics gather around to watch a championship like no other. Filled with spectacular halftime shows and performances, remarkable commercials, and of course — football. After facing the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it was up to some incredibly dedicated, innovative companies (and a few dozen LASSO Customers) to craft this year’s Super Bowl LV experience.
The team at S.A.F.E Management were among those doing their part and making great strides to ensure that Americans didn’t miss out on this annual tradition, despite some new challenges and guidelines. They served as the exclusive security provider for both the Media Center and Raymond James stadium in Tampa, Florida this year for their 17th consecutive Super Bowl.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contribution from S.A.F.E. expanded beyond their standard crew, according to their Vice President of Operations, Blake Barisch. In addition to normal security protocols, attendees were required to go through health screenings. Specially trained S.A.F.E. staff were on-site asking questions and conducting temperature checks. To ensure the safety of all patrons, masks were required and enforced for guests. Socially distanced seating was also required for attendees; apart from the special section of free seats given to 7,500 vaccinated front-line workers. Although the stadium’s capacity is 65,000 seats, only 25,000 lucky patrons were permitted so that the distancing could be achieved.
Tech Services and Live Support
In the stadium, there were a number of other companies working diligently behind the scenes to execute the grand event, including Van Wagner. 2021 will mark Van Wagner Productions’ 35th straight year of Super Bowl production. Starting with Super Bowl XX in New Orleans, the NFL has trusted Van Wagner to produce, direct, create content, and provide overall in-stadium live support and tech services for the nation’s biggest sporting event.
Managing a team of over 150 talented local production staff, Van Wagner’s crew of Producers, Directors, Creative Artists and Logistics Coordinators managed the in-game experience with the NFL, creating hundreds of custom animations and videos for use on all of the LED surfaces in the stadium.
“While the team continues to grow, LASSO has helped keep our crew processes as efficient as ever with seamless onboarding and communications. It has been a critical tool in keeping us organized, especially in a year with so many added layers involved in ensuring a safe production,”
Danielle Turner, Operations & Logistics Manager at Van Wagner Productions.
Other New Experiences
As we counted down the days to the big game, fans had the opportunity to experience a few events that the NFL had announced, both virtual and in-person. The Super Bowl Experience, presented by Lowe’s, provided a fan-fest which was free to the public and featured:
- A virtual autograph session with NFL players
- Photos with the Vince Lombardi trophy
- Virtual reality experiences, and more.
This year’s opening night took place online too, allowing fans all over the nation to tune in and take part in the action. The Weeknd's stunning half time show was also a flawlessly executed experience designed to captivate fans both in person and at home.
Moments like these have opened doors for companies to get creative and take advantage of this additional platform that has become the ‘new normal’ in the absence of live events. Virtual events are sweeping the event industry in a positive way. Although it’s not what we’re accustomed to, this modality has given us the chance to bring in not only Super Bowl fans, but guests from all around the world to different events that previously weren’t within their reach.
Moving forward, LASSO will continue to serve as a resource for the event industry — helping companies staff and support all events in 2021 and beyond. Whether it is event staff management, installation logistics, or even coordinating more people for COVID testing/vaccination sites, LASSO looks forward to helping companies succeed and close the loop!