Fans who are used to showing up to the Super Bowl city on Wednesday to go to the parties will have a rude awakening in Tampa this year if they're expecting much of the same.
Nike , Gatorade , Sports Illustrated , Playboy and Upper Deck are all passing on having a big bash this year leaving Maxim, ESPN The Magazine , Electronic Arts and Moves Magazine as the only prominent parties left.
Moves, a magazine for professional athletes, is being hosted by Reggie Bush and Ray Lewis. While the party was supposed to be completely free and invite only, Moves recently let it be known that they'd be selling tickets to the public.
"We opened up a small amount of tickets to the party to help cover the cost," said Jennifer Beaver, the magazine's director of events, told us.
Beaver said the magazine was hoping to sell 100 tickets at $350 each to defray the cost of sponsors not being able to step up, but that the magazine isn't looking to generate a profit off the party. She said they already had over 1,000 invited people on the free guest list.
Not many people were expecting Sports Illustrated, which has hosted a Super Bowl party for more than a decade, to have a bash this year considering the media environment and layoffs. But SI spokesman Scott Novak said that the tough times might force the magazine to evaluate the benefit of a super bowl party in general.
"We're closely examining the model," Novak said. "How things are executed and the value that these parties deliver."
And that's exactly why I think the Super Bowl party model will change forever. The truth is that most Super Bowl parties are filled with no-names who already know about the company, meaning they have no brand value or incremental value. Tough times might mean that we'll never party like we did in 2005.
Even still, officials with some brands, like Electronic Arts, say they have to be at the Super Bowl. EA Sports president Peter Moore told me last week that their annual Madden party was never in question. And no, the guest list isn't smaller and neither are the crab cakes.
It's no secret that Playboy is out, even though last year was probably the most extravagant of all their parties. The publication announced last week that it was laying off many of its New York employees and moving everyone else to its Chicago offices.
Maxim, which has better adjusted itself to making money in the digital space, is still having its party, but obviously trying to keep it as tight knit as possible. How tight knit? This is the first year the brand or its publicity arm hasn't contacted this noted party reporter to show up.
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