Super Bowl 2022: The New Normal

Super Bowl 2022, the sports and cultural event of the year, is squarely on the horizon, but sunny LA is getting a bit clouded due to Covid-19 concerns caused by the Omicron variant. As my esteemed colleague Lisa Sullivan indicated in her blog post about CES, Omicron isn’t delaying our return to normal, it’s accelerating what’s next – the new normal.

Super Bowl 2022 LA

As Ketchum prepares to support several clients activating at Super Bowl 2022, we’re preparing each with a version of three scenarios:

  1. Activate as planned, relying heavily on NFL, city of Los Angeles and state of California protocols
  2. Create contingency builds that allow for nimble transition as guidelines change to better serve lower capacity and consumer/fan interaction
  3. Conduct operations virtually

In the communications industry, listening is always paramount. The changing trajectory of the pandemic makes this even more crucial given the fluidity of decisions that will need to be made about Los Angeles-based Super Bowl media and sponsorship activations.

With over 20 years of experience navigating the NFL and Super Bowl, Ketchum is prepared to activate in any circumstance, whether it be live or virtual.

Here are some key components to think about while activating for Super Bowl 2022:

  • LA-gistics: The city of Los Angeles is approximately 472 square miles. While it provides every backdrop of a cityscape, sand and mountains, we know that getting to each location requires a lot of time and patience – LA is renowned for its traffic at the best of times. When planning media tours Radio Row is a must, but if going off-site, plan for extra time to travel and look for areas with multiple sets in proximity to each other like Santa Monica/Marina Del Ray or Englewood, but don’t overextend in trying to do both.
  • Switch-up the format: Given the above point, make sure you’re conducting a mix of IRL media and remote media opportunities. Not all media will be on the ground in LA but offer a great opportunity to connect with audiences. And expect some really early mornings given the west coast time change and east coast broadcast media!
  • Stay in one lane: When creating Super Bowl content, whether that’s advertising, marketing, social or PR, you are either having fun and being light-hearted or you are contributing to the community with a purpose – there is no middle ground. You have to have a consistent and solid approach or risk failing to break through against other brands with a clear approach.
  • Back it up: Have a backup plan to the backup plan. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past two years, flexibility is crucial. Also, make sure you keep your groups tight so that you mitigate as much risk as possible of having positive cases of COVID, especially for your executives and spokespersons, make sure everyone is aware of the safety protocols and following them diligently, and finally ensure everyone has proof of vaccinations on hand through an app or hardcopy. It may seem obvious given the times we live in, but you don’t want to miss any opportunities due to lack of planning.
  • Go team: Super Bowl 2022 will serve as a kickoff in a sense – pun intended – for a wealth of Los Angeles-based sports activity in the next several years, including the MLB All-Star Game in 2022, College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2023, The US Open of Golf in 2023, potential World Cup in 2026, and the Summer Olympic Games in 2028. Given this, Los Angeles will become known as the sports epicenter, so it is vital you have a team that knows about activating in the area as well as having in depth knowledge of sports and your industry. Make sure you are putting the right team in place to ensure your success.

The Super Bowl, like CES, will provide a measuring stick on how brands can activate in our new normal. If you would like to speak to our team about activating at upcoming sporting events in LA or beyond, get in touch. We’d love to help!


Patrick has 20-plus years of Super Bowl experience and is co-leader of Ketchum’s Sports team. This post was written with the help of Megan Garner and Kelsey Kolisek, key members of Ketchum’s Sports team,  with a focus on Super Bowl, including Gillette and Frito-Lay activations. 


Based in our Washington, D.C., office, Patrick has 20-plus years of Super Bowl experience and is co-leader of Ketchum’s Sports team.