In the age of the Internet, where everything seems to come so easy and almost instantaneously, it’s pretty easy to forget how dependent we are on the logistics industry to support major events and even day-to-day activities.
The Super Bowl is one of these major events. In fact in 2017, 111 million people watched the Super Bowl worldwide which made it the 5th most watched TV broadcast in history. With over $500 million in ad revenue, Super Bowl LII is the most valuable sports brand.
The Eagles and Patriots take the field on Sunday, February 4th, and we all know the hard work the players of these teams have put into getting themselves on the field.
But what about the unsung heroes? The ones who don’t take the field, but who bring the experience to life for us?
You got it - the men and women of the truck driving industry. The Super Bowl is actually a perfect time to #ThankATrucker.
Where would we be without these folks? Would this event even be possible?
Short answer: No. Over 100,000 trucks were needed to transport materials to the Houston Astro Dome in 2017, and similar numbers are expected for this Super Bowl. With tens of thousands of tons freight.
So let’s take a minute and appreciate all of the hard work that truck drivers do to bring us the largest sporting event of the year.
On the Field
Let’s start off with talking about the game itself. And that means the balls themselves. Each team gets 108 specialty footballs for their quarterbacks to break in, and truck drivers are needed to bring these in.
The entire production system of Wilson Sporting Goods in Ada, Ohio has been dedicated to this production since the AFC and NFC titles were clear.
For players who need to quench their thirst, Gatorade is a must, and a logistics company has been contracted to specifically handle this beverage. CH Robinson is leveraging its 110,000 client base of trucking carriers to get all the Gatorade to the Twin Cities for players, fans, and marketing.
On the Sidelines
Coaching in 2018 is more than X’s and O’s. The amount of technology for a Super Bowl game is nothing short of mind-blowing.
Each team has its own portable data center on the sideline, which is used for the coaches of the respective teams to host play information. Private data centers are needed so that team spies can’t steal crucial tactics from the other team.
These data centers also need servers to operate, cables to connect everything, and tablets to communicate the data to the players and coaches. Players, coaches, and even referees also use headsets to communicate throughout the game.
Minneapolis generally carries this equipment for regular season games - but since the stakes are so high for the big day, the NFL is investing millions in bringing all of this equipment to the stadium.
In The Stands
The host committee in Minneapolis is expecting around 150,000 people to come to the Twin Cities just for the game and the long weekend. In 2016, the average person spent $87.57 on food alone.
Let’s do the math: 150,000 people times $87.57… that’s over 13 million dollars of food and concessions!
This includes all of the regulars: pizza, hot dogs, wings, beer, chips, etc. Truckers are working around-the-clock to deliver all of this to the stands in time.
The Super Bowl is a major television production. It’s a live broadcast to millions of homes, and this means a lot of equipment has to arrive safely to the stadium.
The equipment used to make the entire production happen includes the cables, antennae, cameras, monitors, lights, and other production gear. In 2016 CBS alone unpacked 70 cameras to film the game, and the productions are only getting bigger.
Now let’s talk about statistics around the Twin Cities, where the Super Bowl is being held this year.
Minneapolis is expecting an influx of over 1 million visitors during the week the Super Bowl is taking place. They’ve been preparing for the better part of a year for what is arguably the largest operation the city has ever run.
The Mall of America, an already highly trafficked part of Minneapolis, has added 1,200 antennas, 50 miles of cable (yeah, miles) along with dozens of WiFi access points to accommodate the coming crowds.
TRI-Construction of Minneapolis is configuring the stadium itself to accommodate the 5000+ press members coming into the stadium, with additional materials being brought in from all over the country.
The stadium itself was originally built with 11,000 truckloads of concrete with thousands of truckloads of dirt and other materials. And that doesn’t mention the enormous infrastructure projects that have been going on over the past few years, as most Super Bowl cities begin preparation for the game years in advance.
Even small additions, like a zip line and a performing arts stage at the mall, need to be considered when a $1.1 billion venue like this is being set up.
All of a sudden, we are starting to understand why over 100,000 trucks are used to transport material to the Twin Cities at the end of January!
What About Security?
The 1 million people flocking to the city brings more than a minor increase in security, as all Super Bowls do.
And besides the roughly 10,000 additional people trained to spot security threats (and the additional officers brought in from across the country), the city is bringing in miles of concrete walls and chain-linked fences to order traffic and keep people out of places that are harder to police.
A Word About Our Viewers From Home
What about the people at home? Besides watching the game, they eat.
Here’s some fun facts about what people eat on Super Bowl Sunday:
- Only Thanksgiving beats the Super Bowl in terms of food consumption in a single day.
- Over 1.3 billion chicken wings will be eaten according to the National Chicken Council.
- Domino's plans to sell 12 million slices of pizza.
- 11.2 million pounds of potato chips.
- 4 million pounds of pretzels.
- 2.5 million pounds of nuts.
- How about guacamole? Americans are expected to consume up to 139 million pounds of avocados leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.
- 3.8 million pounds of popcorn
- 14 billion hamburgers are expected to be served across the country.
- 51.7 million cases of beer are sold every year on the day of the Super Bowl.
Once again, it’s truckers to the rescue, as the knights of the road deliver all the food and snacks that we rely on to make the Super Bowl an event – wherever people watch it.
Speaking of watching, what about the TVs to watch the game? Remember how over 111 million viewers are going to watch the Super Bowl in 2018? The presence of a huge television event like the Super Bowl actually spurs on new sales for TVs across the country.
In fact, TV brands regularly increase their exports to accommodate the demand that these sales inspire around the big game. Super Bowl season is even considered to be the best time to buy a TV because of this.
International Viewers And Their Logistics
This year, the Super Bowl will be broadcast in over 180 country into 25 different languages world wide, increasing all of the statistics you just read above.
Even though the number US viewer count of 111 million people beats the rest of the world by over twice as much, we can’t deny the impact of an event that draws in an additional 50 million viewers worldwide.
From various countries in Africa to the Phillipines to the United Kingdom to Australia, the reach of the big game is all over the planet, and people all over the world like wings, beer, and pizza. That means men and women are responsible for delivering all the necessary supplies.
No matter where or how you watch or celebrate the game this Sunday, you have a trucker to thank for the monumental task of bringing the game, the event, and the gargantuan television production to life.
Footballs, construction equipment, data centers, speakers, cameras, beer, chips, chain-linked fences, TV’s, and more. All of those items are where they need to be because of some man or woman did their job and got behind the wheel of a truck.
When you’re done celebrating the game, take a moment and thank one of them for working hard and helping to bring this to life for you. Send your tweet @classadrivers with the hashtag #thankatrucker. And connect with us on Facebook.
[Contributor: Ryan Wells, 3+ years experience in logistics]