Super Bowl LV aired this past Sunday and it looked vastly different from years prior. The attendance, halftime performance, and crew took on a new form this year, just to name a few. Here are our main takeaways from Sunday’s production:
- As expected, this year’s Super Bowl had the smallest attendance in recent years, with just 25,000 people. That accounts for less than half of the attendees at the 2020 Super Bowl, which boasted a crowd of over 60,000. To make up for the empty seats, production set up 30,000 cardboard cutouts. It was a valiant attempt to provide physical distancing between the attendees while bringing a little humor. Cardboard cutouts of Drake, Billie Eilish, Bernie Sanders’ infamous meme, among countless others could be found scattered throughout the stadium. The NFL also provided free tickets to 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers, who were among the lucky 25,000 people who got a coveted seat to view the game in person. This was the NFL’s way to say ‘thank you’ to our country’s essential healthcare workers.
- The halftime show also veered from the norm. The stage was way up in the stands, not on the field, due to working with a fraction of the production crew from years past. As the New York Times reported, “though a smaller crew is putting on the show this year, the bathroom trailers have been going through three times as much water as usual — because of all that hand-washing.” The Weeknd’s 12-minute live performance on Sunday was one of the few the country has seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Not only were we graced with live music for the special event, but the NFL again chose a BIPOC to headline (last year the headliners were JLo and Shakira). We love to see it!
- There were also some firsts during this Super Bowl that had nothing to do with the pandemic. This year there were two female coaches and one female referee. As ESPN stated, “With just eight total women coaching in the NFL, there's still a long way to go before women achieve ubiquity in the NFL, but Sunday is an important step.” Being a primarily female-run business, Sequence was proud to see women on the field on Sunday and these small inclusionary steps forward.
- Last but not least: the commercials! Inclusion was also a major theme here. Many of the ads included representation for BIPOC, the LGTBQ+ community, and people with disabilities. Though this was great to see, we know that there is still a key problem behind the camera. Although the actors and actresses represented in the ads may have been more diverse, the people behind the scenes were not. The ad agencies that curated the diversity-focused commercials were created by 42 male directors, yet only 2 female directors. Furthermore, only 3 of those men are Black. We’d love to see more women and minority-owned production companies and directors continue to diversify the production space.
Prioritizing a diverse advertising and production team should be a given by an empire such as the NFL and the Super Bowl. We love to see the changes the NFL has made throughout the years, but we know there is still important work to do. The work not only exists for giants like the NFL, but also for companies across the US and of course, within Sequence Events as well.
Sequence believes in the power of diversity and inclusion in the events industry. If you are a BIPOC, LGBTQ, female or veteran owned business or vendor, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.