The countdown is on to corporate party time.
It's less than 100 days to Super Bowl XLVIII, and marketers are beginning to share their pre-game party playbooks. On tap: unique, swanky event venues, celebrity performances, top-shelf liquor and gourmet fare.
The events leading up to the Feb. 2 game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., are expected to be so extravagant — and so numerous — that even the most avid party animal might have a tough time keeping up.
On Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch InBev will announce that it's transforming a docked Norwegian Cruise Line ship into a massive "Bud Light Hotel" lodging space and entertainment venue.
Since 2010, A-B has taken over a hotel in the Super Bowl host city, but this year, the beer behemoth "decided to go bigger than we've gone before," says Rob McCarthy, vice president of Bud Light.
The Bud Light Hotel — which will encompass the Norwegian Getaway cruise ship and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum next door — will have space for about 4,000 people in 1,900 staterooms. There will be 22 bars and restaurants. Lodging will be available Thursday before the game through Monday morning.
A-B will plaster the Bud Light moniker on thousands of pillows, hand towels, shampoo bottles and other shipboard items, and will host concerts, business meetings and other gatherings in its event area. That space will include the Getaway, the deck of the retired military ship the Intrepid, its pier and the surrounding area.
"We're able to handle 10 times as many people as we have had in the past" by securing a cruise ship instead of taking over a traditional hotel, McCarthy says. Guests will be a mixture of consumers, retailers, business partners and others.
A-B joins a bevy of other firms that are planning over-the-top Super Bowl fetes.
American Media brands Shape Magazine and Men's Fitness magazine will co-host a Jan. 31 shindig with big-name performers including Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Marc Anthony.
DirecTV is planning two super-sized Super Bowl soirees: a beach-themed bash the afternoon of Feb. 1 and a more sophisticated event that evening.
Some party throwers, such as Shape and Men's Fitness, are organizing their first-ever Super Bowl bashes. Others, such as DirecTV and men's publication Maxim, are perennial partiers, annually having parties in Big Game host cities.