The Supply Chain Management Behind a Super Bowl

super bowl supply chainEach year, 100 million+ viewers worldwide tune in for the Super Bowl. They watch the national anthem, coin toss, opening kickoff, halftime show, funny commercials, and the game (obviously). What the viewers don’t see is the countless amount of hours spent planning and pulling off one of the most significant events of the year. From logistics to transportation to supply chain management, NFL venues undergo extensive preparation for the big day. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant supply chain management considerations for Super Bowl Sunday.

Preparing The Venue

The stadium and NFL personnel must coordinate with their employees, vendors, teams, and volunteers to ensure that equipment, uniforms, and the field are all ready in advance of the game. The transportation piece of the supply chain management plan is crucial so that the players’ helmets, cleats, pads, and jerseys all make it to the proper locker room. On top of that, the coaches, medical staff, and other team members all have equipment of their own that must arrive at the venue. Merchandising is another supply chain consideration for the venue. Branded merchandise for each team needs to be designed, manufactured, shipped, and made available within a two-week time frame.

The Halftime Show

The biggest logistical challenge behind the Super Bowl halftime show is setting up the stage the minute the first half of the game ends. The stage is typically wheeled onto the field using roughly fifty carts, each requiring ten people to move. On top of the stage, an additional twenty carts carrying audio equipment get transported to the field. In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, hundreds of trucks arrive at the venue with stage materials, props, electrical equipment, generators, and much more. Every minor detail, including delivery windows, returns and item replacements, and storage locations, is considered.

Supply Chain Sustainability

Over twenty years ago, the NFL introduced an environmental program that focuses on sustainability efforts for the Super Bowl. The league considers many things when selecting the next Super Bowl site, with sustainability efforts being a high priority. For example, Super Bowl LIII was at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Being a newer stadium, it boasted many sustainability features, including its LEED certification. The building uses about half as much water as other stadiums of similar size. Additionally, the NFL’s environmental program works with nearly ninety non-profit organizations to help repurpose, recycle, and reuse materials treated as waste during the game.

Viewers At Home

The city where the Super Bowl is hosted is not the only location with supply chain management challenges. The Super Bowl is the second-largest food-eating day in the United States behind Thanksgiving. It is estimated that 1.3 billion chicken wings are consumed, 11.2 million pounds of potato chips are eaten, and 325 million gallons of beer are drunk in just one day. Around the country, that puts a tremendous amount of stress on local restaurants, grocery stores, and beer distributors to keep up with demand.

Although the game only lasts a few hours, planning and preparing for the Super Bowl takes months. Proper supply chain management is the backbone of what makes the biggest game of the year a constant success. Ensure you give the appropriate planning and preparation needed for your own company’s supply chain. If you need a partner for any of that, let us know – we’re here to help!