Tickets to the NFL's fan-friendliest event, the NFL Experience, went on sale this week, and league reps came forth with a few interesting details about what fans can expect.
Aside from the usual cavalcade of interactive games, card shows and a special Kids Day on Jan. 28, you'll see a host of player appearances, and possibly some celebrities (NFL reps dropped the names Warrick Dunn and Demi Lovato as possibilities). In years past, Ciara, Hulk Hogan and Alyssa Milano have all stopped by.
For our part, two events in particular sound pretty fun. Throughout the week, you'll be able to film your own Coors Light "commercial," like the ones featuring NFL coaches at newsconferences, and take it home with you. We recommend you practice your Mike "Can't do it" Singletary and Jim "Playoffs?!?" Mora impressions now.
And on Thursday, Jan. 29, the Experience will stay open late for NFLX After Dark, a slightly sleeker, DJ-scored event aimed at young professionals that one NFL rep likened to a cosmic bowling night at your local alley. Cosmic bowling is pretty fun, so it might be worth checking out.
The NFL Experience runs off and on from Jan. 24 to Feb. 3. Tickets are $18.50 for adults, $12.50 for kids 12 and younger. Tickets to NFLX After Dark are $10. Buy them now at superbowl.com or by calling (866) TIX-4NFL (849-4635).
Say hi to Mike and Mike
ESPN's official party will take place in a lot near Club Underground in downtown Tampa. ESPN's daily Super Bowl business, on the other hand? That'll take place in Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, a short walk away.
The Worldwide Leader will take over the riverfront park behind the St. Pete Times Forum for many of its live broadcasts during the week, including Mike and Mike in the Morning, NFL Live and segments for Sportscenter and possibly Jim Rome is Burning. ESPN Radio, on the other hand — including The Herd with Colin Cowherd and Tirico and Van Pelt — are tentatively planning to set up camp at Channelside.
If you're more of a Best Damn Sports Show fan, you're in luck: Chris Rose, John Salley and company will be broadcasting from Centro Ybor on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the game. They'll be taping in the afternoon for each night's show, and the public is invited to attend.
Club 009's secret: revealed!
Among the local notables planning their own Super Bowl parties is former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo of Tampa's DeBartolo Sports and Entertainment, which has been plotting a party with PrimeSport on Super Bowl Sunday called Club 009.
The party will feature co-hosts Jerry Rice and ESPN's Jesse Palmer, as well as music from Miggs. Palmer will lead guests on informative "Chalk Talk" sessions with current and former NFL stars before the game.
In keeping with the party's James Bond theme, the location had been kept a secret ... until now. It'll be held in a private airplane hanger at the corner of W Tampa Bay Boulevard and N Lois Avenue, just blocks from RayJay.
The event will run 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets start at $495, with VIP packages (including hotels and game tickets) starting at $5,095.
For more info, visit club009party.com.
Spires plots postgame party
Former Buccaneer Greg Spires is planning a Super Bowl party — after the Super Bowl.
The "Bentley of Tampa Bay Players After Party" will take place following the game on Super Bowl Sunday, and feature a handful of NFL players as well as music from New York's DJ Kid Capri.
At 2009playersafterparty.com you can see a pie-in-the-sky list of invited VIPs, ranging from Kanye West to Alicia Keys to Usain Bolt to Michael Phelps to the Williams sisters to Kimbo Slice. We feel pretty safe stating that some, if not all, of these guests will have other plans that night. But organizers do expect some of Spires' NFL friends to show up — and considering this is an after-party, they're angling to attract players from the game itself.
Admission info is still in the works, but organizers said advance tickets won't be sold. VIP service is available, though, starting at $850 for two people.
For more info, visit the Web site or call (813) 205-8038.
More party tidbits
• Habitat for Humanity International this week unveiled SuperBuild, an NFL-endorsed event designed to build five Habitat homes, from start to finish, during Super Bowl week. A fifth home — which they're calling "The Champion's House" will be built by volunteers and fans on Super Bowl Sunday. Warrick Dunn, Shelton Quarles and Doug Williams have all lent their names to the cause. By donating to the cause, you can have a chance to win two Super Bowl tickets. Just donate $59 — the cost of building one Habitat square foot — and you'll be entered into the drawing. To donate, visit habitatsuperbuild.com or mail a check payable to Habitat for Humanity to 3071 118th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 33716.
• Paul McCartney played Super Bowl XXXVII in Jacksonville; now his doppelganger is coming to Tampa. A-list Beatles tribute the Fab Four will perform at 8 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $55-$75. For info, contact (813) 229-7872 or tbpac.org.
— Jay Cridlin firstname.lastname@example.org