SAN FRANCISCO – The days are long and packed for members of Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee as they hit the streets of San Francisco to observe, learn and plan.
Dave Haselman, the committee’s chief operations officer, walked 9 miles one day this week, darting from one event to another in boots made for walking and a backpack strapped over his black Minnesota Super Bowl LII jacket.
“I’m exhausted; I’m going to put my feet up,” a cheery Haselman cracked Thursday as he sat for an interview between appointments.
Haselman arrived earlier this week, along with several key host committee members, including CEO Maureen Bausch, communications director Andrea Mokros and several others. Vikings marketing and event gurus Tanya Dreesen and Amy Anthony are also scoping things out in their roles as host committee members.
“It’s perspective for what is actually coming into the Twin Cities, the region,” Haselman said of his reconnaissance work. He’s already been to Levi’s Stadium — located in Santa Clara, more than an hourlong ride from San Francisco — three times this week to talk to organizers for the game.
U.S. Bank Stadium, which will house the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, won’t open until August, but for planners, the time can’t be squandered. The committee is responsible for 10 days of events leading up to the game, designed for the thousands of fans who won’t attend the game.
The magnitude of a Super Bowl operation is hard to summarize. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s an incessant lineup of events, from parties and dinners to celebrity spotting and the filming of the Puppy Bowl.
But for the Minnesotans here, it’s not about fun. They’re scoping out the activities behind the public show, which means attending parties without partying down.
“We want to be able to execute rather than scramble,” Haselman said of his goal for Minnesota’s Super Bowl, branded as “Bold North.”
At Super Bowl City in the Ferry Building, he and Mokros were eyeing which booths had the longest lines.
As the Minnesotans toured the media areas at the Moscone Center, they identified cavernous open space in the second floor landing as a blown opportunity for activity.
They talked to volunteers. “Are you having fun? Are you glad you did this?” Mokros asked.
Plans and more plans
It’s five times more difficult to get into a Super Bowl than a regular game, Haselman said.
That means providing space for the security buffer around the stadium and figuring out how to entice some 70,000 fans to arrive at staggered times so they flow smoothly through checkpoints.
Then they have to figure out how to handle the flow of all those fans leaving at once after the game. Where do the buses park? The Uber cars?
It’s not just one plan; backup plans are also needed. “We have to anticipate what happens if we get a 2-foot snowfall the night before,” Haselman said.
Houston’s hosting turn comes in 2017, so that city has a big presence here. The Texas city planned an invite-only media party Thursday and a bigger bash Friday night. That’s the sort of advance ramp-up expected of a host for the NFL’s marquee event. “As soon as that game is over Sunday, it’s all about Houston,” Dreesen said.
Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley is playing two roles in his visit: as a team representative and a host committee member. He looks to 2018 with the aim of showcasing the state, but also of making sure that loyal Vikings fans who won’t attend the game get to be part of the hoopla.
“Our goal for the week is to make sure everybody is involved and included,” he said.