Steve Webster is president and CEO of CMPR (Crimson Marketing & Public Relations), which specializes promotions, event coordination and management, and public relations for some of the biggest sports events across the country. With the Super Bowl hitting the New York/New Jersey area for the first time, we caught up with Steve to find out what it takes to produce big-time events pegged around major sports championships.
ThePostGame: Fans see the Super Bowl as a four-hour spectacle. How would you sum it up as someone who is responsible for putting on big events leading up to it?
STEVE WEBSTER: Super Bowl is really a year-round event. We literally start working on events for the next Super Bowl within a week or two after the Super Bowl game. Most fans don't know all the work, time and effort put into making Super Bowl week as special as it is, but there are thousands of details and logistics that have to be worked on months in advance.
TPG: What's the key to pulling off a successful event during Super Bowl week?
WEBSTER: Working with a good partner. We have been lucky to work with great partners such as PrimeSport, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Athletes First, DirecTV, GBK, etc. When you have a good partner and you combine their solid team with your team, then that usually results in a great event.
TPG: What's the craziest experience you've had trying to stage a Super Bowl event?
WEBSTER: Wow. We have had a few. From running events in Dallas with 10-degree weather, ice and snow to booking a venue in Indianapolis for a client event only to find out the venue was not the same as the images they had submitted. So we had to move the event to a different venue the day before the actual party.
TPG: How are the type of fans different between a Super Bowl and a Final Four or a BCS championship game, events that are in different cities every year?
WEBSTER: Since we just managed the Rose Bowl and BCS championship events for our client PrimeSport a few weeks ago, I would say the fan experience is vastly different. Super Bowl is much more of a "corporate" event ... almost like a convention of everyone in the sports, entertainment and corporate industries culminating in a game. Whereas the BCS and Bowl Game events are much more collegiate with very passionate, very devoted fan bases but still with the corporate/industry component. We actually like that the events vary and differ because it keeps us on our toes to work hard towards producing a great event.
TPG: Can you give us a quick preview of what you expect to be the best events this week?
WEBSTER: Well, of course I am a little biased towards the partners we work with or have worked with but I think the Club PrimeSport Tailgate Experience on Sunday will be extremely unique. It is only a mile and a half from Met Life Stadium and is a multi-themed party honoring the “New York Experience” and features hosts Eli Manning, Jerry Rice and Tiki Barber. In addition I think the ESPN Party at Basketball City with Robin Thicke performing and the DirecTV Party with Jay-Z performing will be big as well. Other events I find unique last a few days and include the DirecTV Celebrity Gift Lounge at the Gansavoort, Chase VIP Lounge at Guy Fieri's American Kitchen and the BEATS Soho VIP Lounge.
TPG: Any particular challenge for you to have the Super Bowl in New York?
WEBSTER: The cold? It really is like we have all transported ourselves into the movie "Frozen." New York is an amazing city and a great location for the Super Bowl -- if the game was in April. But I do think everyone will feed off the city’s energy to hopefully forget the chill.
TPG: What's your favorite Super Bowl city?
WEBSTER: It would be easy to say the warm weather cities like Miami, Phoenix or San Diego, and I do think Los Angeles would be an amazing place for the Super Bowl, but overall the best city for a Super Bowl in my opinion is New Orleans. Everything is close, the restaurants are incredible, the people are friendly and the event venues are great.
TPG: Should the NFL select more cold-weather cities to host the Super Bowl?
WEBSTER: No. No offense to cold-weather cities, but you want everyone to have a great time during Super Bowl week and to be outside and take it all in and that is hard to do when it is 25 degrees.
TPG: What advice would you give fans who have the luxury of being in town all week for a Super Bowl?
WEBSTER: Take advantage of everything you can. Do your homework. Find out the events that you might be able to either work a connection to get into or that you can purchase tickets to. It only happens once a year so make the best of it.
TPG: You work with a lot of celebrities and famous athletes, but have you ever been starstruck at a Super Bowl event?
WEBSTER: That is a great question. We work so hard and see so many celebrities and athletes that you become a little numb to it. But I would have to say when we helped run the Sports Illustrated Black Eyed Peas Party in Dallas, bringing in Cameron Diaz, Hugh Jackman and Adam Levine pretty much all at the same time was very cool.