Sunday, February 13, 2011

Things we can learn from the Super Bowl

We can learn a lot from the recent Super Bowl. We can learn that no matter how famous a celebrity and how often she might have sung the National Anthem, she may still benefit from a teleprompter. We can learn that even when John the technical guy said he plugged in Fergie’s mic, we might still want to double check to confirm so that her voice doesn’t mysteriously cut in and out during the half time show, making her sound like a commercial for dropped calls. Yes, we can learn these things.

I think the most important lesson though is never, ever, ever (did I say ever?) over promise on something and then not be able to make it happen.

It doesn’t work in relationships, it doesn’t work in business and it certainly didn’t work at the Super Bowl.

What am I talking about? You may have already heard about this story. Apparently, leading up to the Super Bowl, additional temporary seating for spectators was to be added to the stadium and tickets were sold for these temporary seats. Unfortunately, “incomplete installation of temporary seats in a limited number of sections made the seats unusable” ( So, what did this mean for those unlucky fans that purchased tickets for those seats? Many fans were found seats elsewhere, but reports state that approximately 400 did not and were forced to watch the game on a television set like commoners (aka – everyone else in the world). As one displaced spectator said in an interview, “I have cried three times today”.

Word in the blogsphere is that these fans were offered their money back, but to die hard football fans, all the money in the world wouldn’t ease the disappointment that they were feeling. It certainly wouldn’t cover 100% of the travel expenses or make them feel any better about painting themselves from head to toe in green paint which now seems silly considering they were going to have to watch the game from the T.G.I. Friday in their hotel. (Actually – the fans were taken to an area within the stadium where large screens had been erected for them to watch the game).

Sports fans are passionate. They can handle a lot of things, but they can’t handle it when things aren’t fair. The fact that they were sold something that either didn’t exist or wasn’t ready, wasn’t fair. They won’t forget…..ever.

Building additional seating so that more fans can enjoy the experience was laudable. Not having them completed in time for the big event, was a risk that they shouldn’t have taken.

You have heard the saying, “If we build it, they will come”….well these event organizers should have said, “If we build it, we will make sure it’s done”.

What kind of lesson’s can we learn? Well, we can learn never to assume anything. They assumed Christina would know the words, they assumed that the audio was fool proof, someone assumed that someone else had made sure the additional seating was complete. And you know what they say about assuming……yup, that’s right.

Update: It is reported that NFL officials have so far contacted 260 of the 400 fans that had to watch the game on television screens inside the stadium. Those fans can accept $2,400 and a ticket for next year’s Super Bowl, or a ticket for any future Super Bowl plus airfare and hotel accommodations.

Believe it or not, for many, that still won’t be enough compensation.

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