Super Bowl LV sets new records, SoFi Stadium gears up for 2022

Premium experiences company Legends has reported record game day spending across food, beverage and merchandise sales at Super Bowl LV, while planning has commenced in earnest for next year’s event at SoFi Stadium.

Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers create history, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 to become the first team to win the Super Bowl at their home stadium. Legends said the new landmarks were helped by the significant pent-up demand for live sporting events and experiences, and the Buccaneers playing at home, with fan spending exceeding expectations at more than $212 (£153/€175) per capita on game day hospitality and merchandise.

While the National Football League (NFL) initially announced that it was planning for 22,000 fans to be in attendance at Super Bowl LV, including around 7,500 vaccinated health care workers, the final attendance on Sunday stood at 24,835.

Legends’ Hospitality division manages general and premium hospitality at Raymond James Stadium, with the new benchmarks set despite the reduced capacity limit due to COVID-19. The average game day food and beverage spend was $132 and the per cap on game day merchandise spend was $80, both new Super Bowl records.

Legends’ Global Merchandise division operated NFL Shop locations for Super Bowl LV, in the stadium and around Tampa. Legends also worked with the NFL to create and distribute free PPE kits including a mask, wipes, and hand sanitiser to all fans at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. Spending figures were also buoyed by the fact many fans were granted $255 gift cards as compensation for the lack of pregame festivities due to COVID-19.

Last year, Legends’ merchandising division, Legends Global Merchandise, and the NFL reached a new agreement to handle event merchandise for the league’s marquee events, including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and NFL Draft. Legends also went into the Super Bowl having confirmed the closing of its previously announced majority investment from global investment firm Sixth Street.

Legends said in a statement: “Legends’ partnership with the NFL, along with the ongoing work it has done at venues for NFL teams before and during the pandemic, contributed to the acumen required to successfully execute hospitality and merchandise programs at Super Bowl LV.

“During the past year, Legends has been proactive in helping leagues, teams, and venues safely reopen for staff and guests. Legends has done significant work to adapt its operations using data, technology, and science, so that fans feel safe and comfortable engaging with updated protocols around stadium amenities such as food and merchandise.”

Super Bowl LVI will take place at SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park in Inglewood in February 2022. Los Angeles hosted the first Super Bowl in 1967 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but the last time the game was played in LA was in 1993 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee, led by chairman Casey Wasserman, yesterday (Tuesday) unveiled its official logo and launch video, featuring Los Angeles icon, Snoop Dogg. The logo, inspired by the design of SoFi Stadium, and the campaign tagline ‘Champions Shine Here,’ have been developed as a way to spotlight the “spirited, authentic, and inclusive community” that Los Angeles represents and kick off the decade of major events coming to the region, starting with Super Bowl LVI.

“Today more than ever the Super Bowl stands for hope and perseverance,” said Wasserman. “We are proud and excited that Los Angeles will once again host the nation’s biggest sporting event, however it’s the promise of recovery and opportunity that Super Bowl LVI brings to our city’s people and industries that reigns supreme.”

Los Angeles Rams owner/chairman and SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park developer, Stan Kroenke, added: “We are proud to host Super Bowl LVI and will work with all our partners to deliver an extraordinary and unparalleled experience next February.

“We ask that fans continue to do all they can to stay safe so that we can be together next year at SoFi Stadium. Aside from the great competition and entertainment that are hallmarks of Super Bowl, we look forward to celebrating the many frontline workers who are already making this event possible through their amazing sacrifices and commitment.”

The Rams christened SoFi Stadium with a 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys on September 13. At a reported cost of $5bn, the 70,000-seat stadium, which broke ground in November 2016, is said to be the most expensive sports venue in history. However, due to local COVID-19 restrictions both the Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers were forced to play out their entire 2020 seasons without fans in attendance.

Speaking about the potential return of fans to SoFi Stadium, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, according to the Los Angeles Times: “I don’t know what the environment is going to be like by next year; we’ll be prepared for that.

“We hope it will be filled with fans, and not just in the stadium, but around the stadium and enjoying the facility, and we will be back to more of a normal cadence. But safety’s driven everything we’ve done this year and safety will drive that decision as we approach it, making sure that we keep, obviously, the participants, as well as our fans and others, safe through that process.”

Image: U.S. Air Force