February’s Big Game Presents an Opportunity for Operators
by David Klemt
The most American of sporting events goes down on February 7.
This season’s Super Bowl match-up was decided yesterday.
Later in the day, Patrick Mahomes and the 16-2 Kansas City Chiefs, led by Josh Allen, knocked the 15-4 Buffalo Bills out of the championship game yesterday, beating them 38-24. That 14-point win clinched the AFC Championship for the Chiefs.
The final contest of the season will take place on February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 PM EST.
2020 marked an unusual 101st season for the NFL. Making it even more unique is the fact that the 2021 Super Bowl marks the first time in history that a team competing in the big game will play at their own stadium.
Super Bowl LV is the third NFL Championship game to be played at Raymond James Stadium and the fifth to take place in Tampa. The Weeknd will headline the halftime show.
Another unique development concerns Super Bowl advertising. Reportedly, Budweiser, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Little Caesars, Ford, Hyundai, Avocados From Mexico, and Olay won’t be running ads during this year’s game.
The pandemic, unemployment, and political division have been cited as reasons some corporations have decided to pass on Super Bowl LV. Several companies don’t believe it’s possible to produce and air a commercial that won’t offend and be met with backlash.
Operators who have yet to finalize their Super Bowl promotions need to jump on that now. Of course, state Covid-19 protocols will play a major role in big game planning.
For example, Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to “relax” California’s stay-at-home restrictions later today. It has been reported that restaurants will be permitted to offer outdoor dining. Of course, local officials could impose limits on businesses, so California operators must monitor the situation closely.
Football fans and people who are simply eager to get out of their homes will likely flock to any restaurant, bar, brewery or distillery able to host an in-person Super Bowl event.
While that represents opportunities to generate revenue—and possibly turn a much-needed profit—it’s important that operators work within their mandated pandemic guidelines. Businesses hosting Super Bowl parties should expect to face increased scrutiny and must be as prepared as possible to avoid fines, shutdowns or suspended licenses.
That said, delivery and takeout packages programmed around the Super Bowl will likely be attractive to customers. Pizza, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, burgers, snacks and other popular items should be considered for packages. Click here for our coverage of the top delivery items for 2020 and 2021 predictions.
One other word of caution: The NFL is notoriously protective—and litigious—when it comes to their branding. Operators must keep that in mind when promoting Super Bowl events and specials.
Avoid mentioning the NFL, both teams, and the term Super Bowl when marketing February 7’s event. For years, “the big game” has been the go-to to avoid legal trouble. (We’re not attorneys, so proceed with caution when advertising the Super Bowl as this warning doesn’t constitute legal advice.)
Operators have a real opportunity to ring their registers in two weeks. Be informed, be creative, be fun, and be cautious but optimistic.