Make us your home page
Instagram

More premier Super Bowl parties pull plug

TAMPA — The recession has hit Tampa Bay's Super Bowl party plans like a Dick Butkus tackle to the knees.

Sports Illustrated has called off its staple Big Game bash. The Brooks & Dunn Inaugural Golf Classic, a celebrity party and golf tournament hosted by Bucs Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks, was canceled for lack of sponsors. Even the venerable skin mag Playboy pulled out of its annual party, leaving Tampa with a Bunny-free bowl.

"The Super Bowl is certainly not immune to the effects of the recent economic downturn," said Amanda Holt, a spokeswoman for Tampa Bay's Super Bowl host committee. The committee has revised its fundraising goal downward from $8-million to $7-million, Holt said. She's also hearing from event planners struggling to line up sponsors.

"The interest is there," said Keisha Pickett, who is having trouble raising sponsor money for two parties. "There's just a fear of letting go of the money."

Pickett, 28, chief executive of Pickett Public Relations Group in Tampa, said this is her first foray into Super Bowl parties. She's throwing two events targeting black Super Bowl fans. The Super Soul Sanctuary, held on Friday night before the game at Feather Sound Country Club in Clearwater, costs $60 per person and features an eclectic mix of soul performers.

On Saturday night, actor Terri J. Vaughn will host Pickett's chocolate-themed party that includes first screening of her documentary Angels Can't Help But Laugh about the lives of 25 black Hollywood actors. The party, also at Feather Sound, will feature chocolate drinks, snacks and a chocolate fountain.

Pickett has tried to get chocolate companies like Godiva, Hershey and Ghirardelli to sponsor the event but has had little luck. Instead, she's putting up her own money. She plans to make the two parties annual Super Bowl events, and thinks she'll have better luck with sponsors once the economy improves.

"People love the idea, they love the event, but even your larger chocolatiers are saying we just don't know if we have the budget," Pickett said.

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, sounded enviably unperturbed. The impact will be primarily felt at the non-NFL "ancillary" events that "draft" off the Super Bowl, he said.

Nearly 100-million people watched the Super Bowl last year, far more than watched the World Series or the opening ceremonies for last year's Olympics in Beijing, McCarthy said. Women watching the Super Bowl outnumber the entire audience for the Academy Awards.

"The Super Bowl provides an unparalleled stage to reach a massive audience," McCarthy said.

The NFL plans to continue its Friday night pregame gala known as the Commissioner's Party, a private event for 5,000 people at the Tampa Convention Center. NFL Experience, billed as an "interactive fan festival," will throw open its doors for the 18th straight year, courtesy of Bank of America. A Saturday night party will be held in Orlando for sponsors like FedEx, Samsung, State Farm, Motorola, Gatorade and even troubled automaker General Motors. There will be an NFL-sponsored tailgate party, a golf tournament and a bowling tournament. Any trimming of a food or wine budget will go largely unnoticed by attendees, McCarthy predicted.

Asjylyn Loder can be reached at aloder@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3117.

More premier Super Bowl parties pull plug 01/09/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. As Dow hits new high, Raymond James Financial reports record financial gains

    Banking

    On the same day that the Dow closed at new highs, investment firm Raymond James Financial reported record revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter that ended June 30.

    Raymond James Financial CEO Paul Reilly unveiled record quarterly revenues and earnings for the St. Petersburg-based investment firm. [Courtesy of Raymond James Financial]
  2. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. A new app will help you find your favorite Tampa Bay food trucks

    Food & Dining

    What's new: Food tech

    Local food businesses are embracing new technologies and partnerships to bring us extra deliciousness.

    Michael Blasco of Tampa Bay Food Trucks says that everyone always asked about an app to help find their favorite food trucks. There is, available for iPhones and Droids.
  4. Another Pinellas foreclosure auction fools bidders, raises questions

    Real Estate

    For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    A Palm Harbor company bid  $112,300 for  this Largo townhome at a foreclosure auction July 21 not realizing the auction involved a second mortgage, connected to lawyer and  real estate investor Roy Skelton -- and that the bank could still foreclose on the  first mortgage.
[SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN   |   Times]
  5. Clearwater-based USAmeriBank acquired by New Jersey bank in $816 million deal

    Banking

    CLEARWATER — USAmeriBancorp, Inc., based in Clearwater, is being acquired by New Jersey's Valley National Bancorp in an $816 million deal, it was announced today.

    Joe Chillura, CEO of USAmeribank, shown inside a branch in Ybor City in this file photo.
[KATHLEEN FLYNN l Times]