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Touchdown in Lockdown - putting Super Bowl LV in the spotlight in challenging times

In the middle of a global pandemic, the prospect of delivering high level coverage for the Super Bowl could be seen as daunting for some, but all we at The Playbook saw was a huge opportunity. We had more talent, more access, more content and a captive audience!

Here’s how we made Super Bowl LV an unmissable viewing event…

Making the headlines

Getting American Football onto BBC One’s ‘News at 10’ is no mean feat, but this year they ran a five-minute news item five days prior to the game. So how did we do it?

We used unique and unexpected stories about the people, the organisation and the game that we knew would resonate beyond a sport audience.

These included having Sarah Thomas the first ever female umpire at a Super Bowl, how to put on a global event in COVID times, and the battle between the greatest player of all time Tom Brady (quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) against his heir apparent Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) to name a few.

The success of our Super Bowl activity was the culmination of a number of months work. Having gradually built interest in our human interest stories from key media in advance, we helped grow a network of journalist advocates who then gave the Super Bowl more national media coverage than ever before around the event itself.

Connecting with the fans

There is already a pretty devoted NFL fanbase in the UK, and when it comes to the Super Bowl their excitement is compelling!  We used some of the sport’s best-known celebrity fans to engage and inspire their audiences to get big game ready.

We had NFL v football content with England captain Harry Kane, Instagram stories with the likes of BBC Radio One DJ Adele Roberts and BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Nick Bright, as well as Pepsi Halftime Show content with Canadian musician The Weeknd who was performing in the acclaimed halftime slot.

In addition to getting ‘prime time’ TV slots such as The One Show for the infectious BBC NFL pundit duo Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell, we also made sure that we reached as many different audiences by focusing on their passions and personality.

We cracked family, fitness, youth, entertainment and culture media – engaging a completely new audience.

Reaching the end zone

In what is undoubtedly a tough time for everyone at the moment, this year’s Super Bowl was for some people at least, an exciting distraction, with Tom Brady picking up a seventh winners’ ring.

Our work helped make sure that more people than ever before knew that the game was coming and why they couldn’t miss it!

Rebecca Hargreaves
Head of Client Services