Cold-Weather Crisis Management for Super Bowl XLVIII

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    Are organizers prepared to face potentially game-threatening conditions?

    When it comes to big events here in the States, you really can’t top the Super Bowl. There will be nearly 100,000 physically attending in addition to the 100+ million watching from home.

    Oh, and did we mention that this year it’s outdoors? In New Jersey. In February. For those that don’t know, that means it’s entirely possible that we could see a massive snowfall, or even a blizzard, hit on the day of the big game.

    You’d better believe organizers are aware of this fact, but what are they doing about it?

    To help cope with the cold weather, all fans in attendance will be handed a seat cushion, lip balm, ear muffs, hat, mittens, cup holder, scarf, tissues, a radio to listen to the game, six hand warmers and a quarterback-style hand muff. If you think about it, this is a great way to combine crisis management, marketing and PR. Sure fans SHOULD know to bring this gear, but considering the number of out-of-towners that will be in attendance, along with the amount of pre-game boozing that goes on, we’d bet these aids will end up saving the day for a good number of fans. On top of that, everyone loves to get event swag, and will almost certainly be telling pals and displaying their mementos for years to come.

    How about the field itself though? Well, ever since the weather caught the media’s attention, organizers have been busy showing off their ice melting machines, salt dispensers and snow removers. As for surrounding areas, New Jersey officials are not messing around. There will be a veritable army of workers at the ready to operate some 2,400 utility trucks and snow melting machines, not to mention the 50,000+ tons of salt they’ve stockpiled.

    If all of this STILL isn’t enough to let the game go on, the NFL has plans to play the game on a variety of upcoming days, and all staff and fans have been notified of the possibility.

    When it comes to crisis management it pays to be thorough, and from the sounds of it the people behind Super Bowl XLVIII have taken care to put together a great defense.

    Of course, we also have to hope they haven’t done anything to piss off NJ Governor Chris Christie….

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]