(from Sports Business Journal, February 11, 2013) Since 1992, the NFL Experience has been a big part of Super Bowl week since its first launch at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This huge festival is what allows sponsors to interact with fans. Now, for the first time in 20 years, there will be no NFL Experience for Super Bowl XLVIII next year in New York/New Jersey. This will be another first for this Super Bowl, along with the first outside in cold weather and the first with two teams hosting. Super Bowl Host Committee CEO, Al Kelly, said, “The Super Bowl Boulevard will serve as that major fan engagement activity.”
This year’s NFL Experience event was held at the New Orleans Convention Center, which was sponsored by GMC. The event brought around 90,000 fans over four days with an admission up to $25. The problem for this next year is New York not having a big enough space to accommodate the event like the Convention Center in New Orleans. In place, the Boulevard is designed to be a fan hub around the Super Bowl by creating a central gathering place. The Boulevard will take a 10-block stretch of Broadway from 34th Street to 44th Street. The one potential problem is sponsors that have been able to acquire space at the NFL Experience could become lost on Super Bowl Boulevard, especially in Manhattan. On the other hand, Kelly assures the Boulevard will be able to house much of the sponsor activity which usually occurs during the NFL Experience.
In contrast with not having a venue to hold the NFL Experience and taking up a 10-block stretch of Broadway, the Boulevard will not offer various food options so it’s not taking away from the city’s business. Despite venues being booked and the city not having a large enough accommodation, the NFL experience will go forward with an outdoor venue for next year’s game.