Commentary: Super Big *Bleeping* Deal

The Super Bowl is happening within miles of my doorstep.

The fifty-second rendition of the National Football League's biggest show will kick off at U.S. Bank Stadium on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis. It was on the same spot that the NFL's big game took place in 1992 inside of the former occupant of that property – the Hubert H, Humphrey Metrodome.

The new enclosed stadium will bring in the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles, over 66,000 fans, 5,000 members of the media, and countless other locals and tourists to the Twin Cities. The organizers created a security zone around the stadium, enough to close the stadium's light rail station for 48 hours. This, along with other events happening in far-flung places, such as Nicollet Mall, the Mall of America, and in St. Paul's RiverCentre.

This Super Bowl is all about corporate involvement and sponsorship. Hyundai is the NFL's official automobile. And, we will be seeing a lot of Hyundai – and Genesis.

For starters, the Super Bowl Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center is sponsored by Genesis. The luxury car brand is the title sponsor of the annual interactive confab held annually at the site of the Super Bowl. This is a superb opportunity for this brand is shine on a larger stage. Hyundai will also be present on game day, as well as the Super Bowl Live activation on Nicollet Mall.

If that's not enough, Hyundai will bring 275 vehicles to the Twin Cities to serve the teams, staff, volunteers and other local organizations during Super Bowl week. If you tool around the Twin Cities, you can't miss them with their Hyundai and NFL logos on the side.

Of course, NBC viewers on February 4 will see more of Hyundai. They will have their tenth Super Bowl commercial in 11 years.

While the Hyundai-NFL sponsorship deal is assured for Super Bowl LII, what about the truck sponsor of the NFL? Ford's truck portfolio is also a sponsor of the league. As of going to press, it has not been made public their plans at this year's Super Bowl other than advertising during the broadcast.

With the Patriots, the Eagles, and their fans making themselves at home in the Twin Cities, motorists and commuters are being shoved to the dark ends of the story arc. As part of the Super Bowl hosting agreement, streets around the U.S. Bank Stadium site will close. Not to mention that parking rates have multiplied greatly in and around downtown Minneapolis.

If you think taking Metro Transit or any of the Metropolitan Council suburban transit operators into downtown Minneapolis will be easier, think again. First off, the heart of the recently remodeled Nicollet Mall will close for live activities. Busses will return to detours once again. Plus, the U.S. Bank Stadium light rail station will be closed because it sits right in the heart of the Super Bowl security zone. Busses will also take over most – if not all – of the light rail routes through the heart of Super Bowl week, including the day of the big game.

In other words, expect plenty of inconvenience.

There will be plenty to do in the days running up to Super Bowl LII. I'm sure you can go on the internet to see when P!nk will play at the Armory or some other pop or hip-hop artist will do his or her thing somewhere in the Twin Cities. There is a zip line across the Mississippi River that fans could partake in…many distractions that will encompass this wintry point of American society.

And to make matters more interesting – it's going to be a very cold week.

If I sound jaded, then you are probably right. I don't have a team playing in it, why bother? Besides, thousands of people will be jamming the Twin Cities for the big game and the hype surrounding it.

Honestly, I really wanted to get away this week. There was an event at the Washington Auto Show in D.C. that I was invited to. The problem was getting an affordable fare coming home…thank you NFL!

So, we're stuck with the hype here in the Twin Cities. Well…fine…have fun, folks…

Photo by Randy Stern

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