Business Blitz: Will sponsors warm up to a cold-weather Super Bowl?

Winter Carnival Ice Palace, St. Paul, MN 1992

The Winter Carnival Ice Palace in St. Paul, Minnesota, was a popular attraction for the 1992 Super Bowl.

At these prices, can the NFL sell a cold weather Super Bowl to rich corporate sponsors? Two of the next four Super Bowls are in in temperate climates, New Jersey in 2013 and Santa Clara, California, in 2016.

Both locations are homes to the NFL's newest stadiums, MetLife Stadium, home of the Jersey Giants & Jets, and the new home of the 49ers. After that, you could be booking 2018 Super Bowl flights to Minneapolis. In February.

It's a matter of interest to rich people only. The rest of us will watch from home.

Ordinary Joe football fans must think it funny that the NFL could discount the price of some Super Bowl tickets to $800, down from $950. The truly well-heeled are out of luck.

The league is raising the price of 9,000 premium seats from $1,250 to $2,600, a $12.5 million bump in incremental revenue according to a story on Forbes.com.

Yes son, when I was your age, I walked barefoot to Super Bowl XVIII in the snow, uphill both ways. I paid face value for the tickets ‒ the outrageous sum of $65 each. (But what a thrill to treat my Dad, the family season ticket-holder, to a title game. May you too have that opportunity. Son.)

The Super Bowl ceased to be an event for everyday fans long ago. Today, it is the NFL's two-week corporate festival where they wring every nickel from well-heeled executive sponsors to host an "Official Super Bowl" anything.

That's a lesson learned from the International Olympic Committee's pit bull vigilance against unpaid use of the "Olympics" brand.

Businesses that sponsor those two-week Super Bowl festivals justify it by hosting big-bucks customers for fun leading up to the game. That means beach weather parties, golf, deep-sea fishing, gambling, lavish dinners and anything else that deepens customer relationships and opens customer wallets.

I'm trying to picture how that happens in Minneapolis or Indianapolis, contenders along with New Orleans as host cities for the 2018 Super Bowl.

Indianapolis enjoyed unseasonably warm weather for the 2010 Super Bowl (XLIV) and left a good impression on owners. Jim Irsay may have pictures, too.

Dallas enjoyed an ice storm for the 2011. Perhaps that was Karma for Jerry Jones. The killer was the 1992 Minneapolis Super Bowl with the unforgettable 92⁰-below wind chill factor.

Indianapolis, Dallas and Minneapolis have indoor stadiums. New Orleans has warmer weather and Bourbon Street. Their indoor stadium did not prevent the entertaining 22-minute power malfunction in the second half of the 2013 Super Bowl (XLVII) that oddly made the game more exciting.

MetLife Stadium is an outdoor venue. It's New Jersey location won't hurt corporate sponsorship regardless of the weather. New York is the financial capital of the world. Greater New York includes venues from Broadway to casinos in Atlantic City. Selling corporate clients on events in the Big Apple is an easy sell. (Queue Sinatra's New York, New York)

Warm spells in February cannot be counted on in Indianapolis, nor frigid temps in Minneapolis dismissed. That's a tougher sell to corporate sponsors.

The Super Bowl is still the Super Bowl. The NFL is skilled enough to sell ice to Eskimos. (Um, can I still say that?) Multi-year sponsor deals and TV broadcasting contracts insulate the league from bad weather. The league will come out on top however cold it is. It's what they do.

But it's less certain for its Super Bowl partners, however. When I was inviting clients to winter events in February, it was to somewhere near ski lodges in the Rockies or way south of Indie. Anything else was a hard sell.

Just sayin'.

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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