Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Watching the halftime show is one of our favourite things to do in the office each year, but probably not for the reasons you would think. As massive event management nerds, the work that goes into the planning and execution of this show within a show is awe inspiring.
The entire event show is bumped into the stadium in just 6 – 8 minutes, the show runs for 13 minutes, then there is 6 minutes to get everything back out of sight before the game needs to start up again with no trace any one was ever on the field, Charles Chaplin, Vice President of Special Events at the NFL says “ There is no way to describe that other than sheer terror.’
To put it in perspective, a normal rock concert would have a minimum of 24 hours to bump in and set up the equipment, often more.
With that in mind, here is 7 things you didn’t know, you wanted to know about the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
1. There is 2000 – 3000 people involved in the end to end production of the show each year.
2. Everything comes through the players tunnels. Depending which stadium the game is happening in depends how many tunnels there is and how well located they are, but they are never more than 10ft wide (approx. 3m). The planning of these tunnels is absolutely key.
3. On the day a 600 person crew is utilized in perfect organisation to bring out every needed piece of equipment, every speaker, every instrument, every power cord and all the staging itself.
4. The stage weighs around 10 tons and is broken into 25 sections, each section pushed out manually by 25 crew members.
5. The show is broadcast to 180 countries and has a 360 degree view from the audience, and the cameras. There is no back of house to hide anything.
6. The weight of every item has to be carefully considered to maintain the integrity of the field in the face of any weather conditions.
7. The audience is pre-cast and participates in the rehearsals, the audience is made up of 800 or so people, usually school children from the local area. As well as being the cheering audience, they often participate in the show, for example, during Justin Timberlake’s ‘Mirrors’ the audience each held up mirrors to reflect the stadium lights.
The true art of the annual half time super bowl show is what we don’t see, the things they never show you and the things they skilfully hide from your view.