Jayhawks behind the scenes at the Super Bowl

Posted on Feb 3, 2013 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

There may not be any Jayhawks playing in the Super Bowl today, but there are several working behind the scenes in New Orleans- including Nikki Epley, the Alumni Association’s director of reunions and affinity programs. Nikki shared a little bit about what she’s been doing this week.  

I have worked for two Super Bowl host committees: Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville as Director of Special Events, and Super Bowl XLI in South Florida as Director of Events and Operations. I also attended Super Bowl XXXVII in Houston and Super Bowl XL in Detroit to observe as a future host city representative.

This is my third year as a member of the staff of Populous, which is hired by the NFL to handle stadium oversight. We have a team of approximately 70 members that comes in from across the country and around the world, including Australia, London, New Zealand and Canada. Most team members have worked at Super Bowls or the Olympics, or they are representatives from various football stadiums, such as Soldier Field in Chicago, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Georgia Dome in Atlanta and Texas Stadium in Houston.

We have various teams and responsibilities. We install signage around stadium and perimeter- this year nearly 5,000 signs have been produced- and tape directional colored lines throughout the stadium that show various media groups how to get through the stadium

There is also an furniture, fixtures and equipment team that sets up barricades and various spaces for media workrooms and postgame interviews, as well as setting up the field for entertainment, team benches, the postgame trophy ceremony and more.

We also give stadium tours to the NFL executives, sponsors and other groups such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation kids.

On game day, we all have very specific assignments. I’ll be assisting one other person with the Niners team moves, locker room, tunnel, sideline and bench.

Populous’ main headquarters is in Kansas City, so there are a number of KU alumni here, along with alumni from other area schools.

We’re looking forward to Nikki’s return to the office so we can hear more stories about her Super Bowl experience! If you’ve got a Jayhawk+Super Bowl story to share, let us know. Email us at share@kualumni.org.

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