For more than two decades, sports uber-agent Leigh Steinberg has thrown one of the most lavish — and most exclusive — Super Bowl parties around.
Steinberg's 23rd annual Super Bowl party will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at Lowry Park Zoo, organizers told tbt* on Thursday.
Jeremiah Donati, Steinberg's general counsel and director of special projects, said the agent's people had narrowed the field down to about a half-dozen venues, including Sunken Gardens, the USF Botanical Gardens and the Florida Aquarium.
In the end, the zoo was a perfect fit for the party, which, for the second straight year, will have an eco-friendly theme.
Last year in Arizona, organizers accepted recyclable electronics and rolled out a "green carpet" at the VIP entrance. They'll also be looking for a local environmental charity to be among the party's beneficiaries.
Other, less earth-centric highlights of last year's event included interactive games, a massage cabana and oxygen bar.
The event is players-only (as in players on the field, players off the field, and players in Hollywood). In 2001, the last time the game was in town, Steinberg's party was held at Busch Gardens. 'N Sync were guests.
That he keeps such company shouldn't come as a surprise — Steinberg, after all, was the inspiration for Jerry Maguire.
More party tidbits
Derrick Brooks is already hosting a golf tournament during Super Bowl week — the Brooks & Dunn Inaugural Golf Classic with Warrick Dunn. Now he's added a fashion show to his plate. The Ebony Fashion Fair benefitting the Derrick Brooks Charities Youth Auxiliary Rites of Passage Program will take place at 5 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Tampa Theatre. Tickets are $35. For more info, visit derrickbrookscharities.org.
Not a lot of info on this so far, but actor Anthony Anderson is scheduled to host a charity golf tournament, Gathering on the Greens, on Jan. 30 at Fox Hollow Golf Club in New Port Richey. No other celebs have been announced, but the organizers are the same people putting together Jenny McCarthy's Aces for Autism blackjack tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Jan. 31, and a spokeswoman said you might see some of the same stars at both events. More details are due in the next couple of weeks. Bookmark gatheringonthegreens.com for updates.
The NFL will hold a party Jan. 31 for some of its corporate sponsors — not in Tampa, but in Orlando. The event, which is not open to the public, will take place at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando. An NFL spokesman said the event, which takes place each year, is expected to draw some 3,200 people — about 800 fewer than in years past.
Colts coach Tony Dungy had been expected to receive something called the Together for Kids Humanitarian Award at a $250-a-head charity dinner on Jan. 28 at the A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa. Until this week, the event was still listed on the Tampa Bay Host Committee's Web site. But after a top sponsor dropped out, the event had to be postponed until next year's Super Bowl in Miami. "The economy got the best of us," said Steve Caywood, executive director of Together for Kids, a charity benefitting children's hospitals. Hopefully by next February, the economy will be in good enough shape for Dungy to receive his due.
Sheila Johnson, who has an ownership stake in the Washington Wizards and Captials and is president of the Washington Mystics, is the keynote speaker at "Celebrating Successful Women in Sports and Business," a luncheon benefitting Tampa Youth Education Towns, at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor. Tickets start at $125; get info at superbowlluncheon.com.
Ruth Eckerd Hall is going old, old school for Super Bowl weekend. A day after hosting the electric John Legend on Jan. 29, the venue will stage back-to-back shows by Melanie, the Woodstock vet who sang Brand New Key (as in, "I've got a brand-new pair of roller skates, you've got a … "). It's the first show in Ruth Eckerd's Murray Studio Theater concert series, which features a full bar and cabaret-style seating in a 170-seat venue. If you happen to be a fan of Melanie — or just a fan of that scene with Dirk Diggler and Rollergirl in Boogie Nights — then tickets are $39.75, with a special four-pack available for $106.50. It's at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30-31. For details, see rutheckerdhall.com. — Jay Cridlin, email@example.com