Special Feature: Building the US’ Most Popular Sporting Event: Super Bowl XLIX
January 30, 2015
The Super Bowl is the United States’ single most popular sporting event, capsule and it captivates over 160 million television viewers worldwide each year.
In 2012, this single game generated more than £162 million in revenue.
Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium, which was designed in 2006 by sports architects Populous (with Eisenman Architects).
Populous is an international design practice with offices in the United States, Australia and London.
The stadium was the first in North America to feature both a fully closing roof and a retractable natural grass field.
It has been called the most advanced stadium in the world, with the roof taking just 12 minutes to open, and the pitch can be removed entirely so the grass may flourish outdoors and remain preserved for game day.
In addition to the design of the stadium, Populous will be at the heart of much of the behind the scenes work that is set to make this Sunday’s Super Bowl an unforgettable fan experience.
For 31 years, Populous has helped manage this awe-inspiring event, overseeing everything for the city to city move each year, from initial master planning and real estate acquisition to the final trophy presentation.
There will be 80 Populous staff members orchestrating game day activities, 10 of whom work full time, all year round on this event.
Each year several staff members from the UK are part of this team.
This work includes space and event programming and scheduling, design overlays, procurement, seating manifests, security and parking planning, temporary wayfinding/signage, permit and code reviews, staffing logistics, emergency and evacuation plans, and more.
Populous’ link to the NFL has also crossed the Atlantic in recent years. Since 2007, the NFL has come to London each year, playing pre- and regular season games at Wembley Stadium.
Completed in 2007, Wembley was designed by Populous in partnership with Foster and Partners.
Now, three regular season games plus pre-season games (test matches) are played each year at the Populous-designed stadium. Games at Wembley have been such a success that
there are government-supported considerations to bring an NFL team to London permanently.
Christopher Lee, Senior Principal in Populous’ London office had this to say about Sunday’s big game and the practice’s involvement: “Super Bowl XLIX will reinforce the Super Bowl’s position as one of the greatest sporting events in the world.
“Whilst all the action on the pitch will be over in a matter of hours, the planning process for each game begins more than a year before the game, and Populous’ specialist events team are proud to have been at the heart of this process for over 30 years.
“This year’s game at the University of Phoenix Stadium, with a global TV audience forecast to be over 160 million, will be an unforgettable experience for everyone who sees it.
“With the state-of-the-art retractable pitch and closing roof, the whole event will be a fantastic celebration of Phoenix, the NFL and incredible sporting moments that draw people together.”