NFL AMUSEMENT PARK IS JUST THE TICKET

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Call it Promotion Park.

Specifically, it's the "NFL Experience," a sprawling amusement park near the site of the Super Bowl that's rapidly gaining momentum with both marketers and consumers.

Tied to the league's biggest event, the fourth annual "NFL Experience" is ideally tailored for product sampling, brand exposure and promotional sales pitches.

The park will spread over 750,000 square feet of the parking lot at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium, site for Super Bowl XXIX. The attraction will operate from Jan. 26 to Super Bowl Sunday, the 29th.

The "NFL Experience" boasts the participation of 75 NFL players and more than 50 corporate-sponsored exhibits, attractions and interactive games.

Title sponsors Coca-Cola Co. and American Express Co. are paying upwards of a $1 million each for vast, highly integrated involvements. Classic Games, Foot Locker, Miller Brewing Co.'s Miller Lite and Frito-Lay's Wavy Lay's are associate sponsors. In all, some 50 companies are paying low to mid six-figure fees to join in the "NFL Experience." NFL Properties, the league's marketing arm, oversees the project and collaborates with sponsors on their activities.

Coca-Cola will use the "NFL Experience" as a key weapon in its Super Bowl-theme promotional assault on the region. The NFL's official soft-drink sponsor has teamed with five regional retail chains for a variety of sweepstakes offering tickets to Coca-Cola sponsored activities at the "NFL Experience." Examples include the 80,000-square-foot Super Bowl Trading Card Show & Pin Trading Center. Some 100,000 bottles of Coca-Cola in Florida are now making discount offers for "NFL Experience" tickets underneath their caps.

The NFL's retail partners have designed promotions to drive traffic to the "NFL Experience." Foot Locker stores in South Florida will give away tickets with purchases of product from NFL licensees Reebok International, Russell Athletic and Starter Corp. Foot Locker will also be selling NFL-licensed apparel at a 30,000-square-foot NFL Team Store at the "NFL Experience."

Many marketers use their sponsorships of "NFL Experience" attractions to get their products into consumers' hands. Participants in the Gatorade Co.-sponsored "Punt, Pass & Kick" can toast themselves with complimentary cups of the sports drink afterward. Each "Quarterback Challenge" player receives a bag of Wavy Lay's potato chips after scrambling through the game's obstacle course.

Some sponsors will seem omnipresent. American Express will sponsor the "75 Seasons of the NFL" historical exhibit and set up a concierge center for Miami visitors. McDonald's Corp. is involved with a kids play area and 50-by-50 square-foot mini-restaurant. Reebok will sponsor an attraction called "Measure Up to the Pros," where vistors can try on Reebok shoes; display the uniforms it has created for the NFL's relaunched World League of American Football (of which Reebok is the title sponsor); and Reebok also shod the feet of every "NFL Experience" employee.

The "NFL Experience" will get extensive promotion from a smattering of local media partners, but it's also getting national exposure from the likes of ABC, CBS, MTV Sports, QVC, The Box and Comedy Central.

Kate Fitzgerald coordinates Promotion Marketing News. Reach us by fax at (312) 649-5331 or e-mail address K8FITZ@aol.com.

Next Promotion Marketing News appears Feb. 6.

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