By Matt McCue
While many celebrate the Super Bowl with parties at home, the week leading up to the big game has turned into a 24/7 bacchanal featuring booze, scantily clad women, and a roster of A-list and has-been names looking to party in the host city. From Playboy and Maxim to Diddy and Usher, everyone is looking to outdo the other, and make a little cash in the process.
These events that promise red-carpet crowds don't come cheap. Tickets, when available, start in the triple digits and skyrocket from there. Last year in Dallas, Diddy didn't -- say that five times fast -- hold just one party. He held three, on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday night. Usher, too, was a busy man. In addition to performing at Mark Cuban's party, he also joined the Black Eyed Peas at halftime and then hosted his own soirée that night. His after-party, which started before the fourth quarter finished, cost $20,000 for table service.
|Slideshow: Outrageous Super Bowl Parties|
Playboy and Maxim stick to what they do best -- appealing to men through hot women. Playboy rounds up the Playmates for the big event, while Maxim has been known truck in groups of women to keep the male-to-female ratio in the former's favor. This year, Rolling Stone will join these magazines and host its first Super Bowl party in Indianapolis. The late-night event will have a quadruple bill of LMFAO, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes and Lupe Fiasco. Like most of these shindigs, it will have a combination of regular Joes who have to pay to get in and a handful of stars who will give the party a certain celebrity credibility.
But the most exclusive Super Bowl party may not take place in the host city. Last year, President Obama, a huge sports fan, invited members of his Cabinet and Congress (oh, and J-Lo and Marc Anthony) to join him at the White House for a viewing party. The menu included game-friendly foods like brats and chicken wings, but the highlight might have been the White House's signature Honey Ale.
In the name of marketing and reinforcing global strategy, Playboy once again put its cotton-tailed Playmates on display at this bash at the Aloft Hotel in Dallas. According to the Dallas Morning News, the evening had an eclectic crowd including Snoop Dogg, the cast of Glee, Chelsea Handler, Tony Romo and "The Situation." For those not lucky or famous enough to get a comp'ed entrance, tickets cost $1,250, almost as much as the most expensive seat at the actual Super Bowl. The Playmates guided guests through rooms dressed up to look like London, Macau, Miami, Cancun and Las Vegas -- décor included an S-shaped leopard-print chaise in Vegas and a Mini Cooper tipped on two wheels in the London room.
It's thought to be the crème de la crème of Super Bowl parties, with a budget easily in the seven-figure range, and only VIPs earning the exclusive invites (though tickets can be purchased through brokers for $1,500). Held outside by the pool at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach, the 2010 Maxim Party brought together 1,200 rollicking guests like Lindsay Lohan and Brody Jenner -- the goal, as always, was to create a favorable male-to-female ratio. According to a CNBC report, at one point, event organizers brought in a cluster of 30-40 women just to up the female numbers. Incidentally, the party is about more than flashing skin. It's a revenue stream for Maxim to leverage seven-figure sponsorships and ad deals.
Before he declared bankruptcy in January, super-agent Leigh Steinberg was known for holding the most over-the-top parties of Super Bowl week. In 2008, he hosted an astonishing 2,500 people at Phoenix's Desert Botanical Gardens for an eco-friendly fete of unprecedented magnitude. Because he obviously valued their company, he sent them home with the oddest assortment of goodies. According to the Washington Post, guests left with florescent light bulbs, Clif bars, body spray for athletes, dietary supplements, golf tees, a T-shirt and udder cream. Udder cream?! Seems a bit lavish for a party that was to be "fully sustainable."
Prior to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, NFL stars who weren't playing in the actual game swung by The Honey Pot club to participate in a video game tournament of Madden NFL '09, along with food and a premium bar, of course. Throughout the three-level penthouse, a slew of guys like Mark Sanchez, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Marshall Faulk, Tony Gonzalez, Aaron Rodgers and more watched on as eight of their peers played against each other on plasma screens. According to SuperSundayHQ.com, wide receiver Antonio Bryant edged out defensive end Justin Tuck to take the Madden Bowl Trophy. Afterward, another Madden -- Joel of Good Charlotte -- played DJ into the wee hours.
The evening was billed as two big parties rolled in one. According to SuperSundayHQ.com, Pamela Anderson hosted the "Hearts" side while NBA player Shawn Marion hosted a poker tournament for the "Helmets" side. More than 300 guests played in the card tournament alongside poker pros, and models, skimpily dressed as referees, provided as much insight into the game as they could. Alas, to the dismay of most guests, who paid $500 for advance tickets ($1,000 at the door), Anderson stayed in the VIP area for most of the night.
Click here for TheDailyMeal.com's complete slideshow of Outrageous Super Bowl Parties.
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