I would suggest that if you take all the major events I’ve worked, and put together all the logistics and planning, the Super Bowl is bigger than all those other events combined. —Brad Mayne
Former Salt Palace events coordinator Brad Mayne has hosted some biggie-size parties during his long career. The men’s and women’s Final Four, for instance. The NBA and NHL All-Star games, too. Other A-list events: the Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, national figure skating championships, college hockey’s Frozen Four and several Olympic qualifying events.
Not to mention six nights of Barbra Streisand and three of Bruce Springsteen.
Mayne knows an event when he sees it. But put them all together and what do you have?
The Super Bowl, which happens to be his current administrative project.
“I would suggest that if you take all the major events I’ve worked,” said Mayne, president and CEO of MetLife Stadium, “and put together all the logistics and planning, the Super Bowl is bigger than all those other events combined.”
And you thought Diddy threw big bashes.
This Sunday’s NFL title game represents one of the world’s largest organizing headaches. Mayne, who graduated from Salt Lake’s Granite High and the University of Utah, has a lot on his agenda. The NFL sends regiments to help run the event, but the man with start switch is Mayne. He oversees everything from security to parking, lighting, concessions, ushering, field conditions, ticketing, maintenance, media, seating and snow removal.
“All of those,” Mayne said, “are the stadium’s responsibility.”
He does everything except call the plays and take the snaps.
Though Mayne maintains a mi casa es su casa demeanor, this is far from an ordinary Super Bowl. Sunday’s forecast calls for a high of 36 with possible snow. The prospect has scared down the price of tickets, according to news reports. But as Mayne notes, NFL games are played in snow venues all the time.
It’s not as though he hasn’t dealt with these issues before. In December, the New York Giants hosted Seattle in a game preceded by a snowstorm. It began lightly but became heavy, followed by freezing rain.
His stadium looked like a big frozen daiquiri.
Still, the crew finished clearing snow at 4 a.m., the day of the kickoff.
Mayne also staged a dress rehearsal earlier this month after a storm dropped 13 inches in the area as temperatures plummeted. Thirteen hundred workers removed the snow by noon.
“Every storm doesn’t do exactly what the meteorologists thought it would,” he said.
If Mayne seems calm, it’s because he has been working at stadiums since he sold hot dogs at University of Utah sports events at age 14. While completing his schooling, he worked in the university’s athletic department ticket and events office, staying there from 1973 to 1981. That included the 1979 Final Four that featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Later he moved downtown to coordinate events for the Salt Palace, Abravanel Hall, the convention center and Capitol Theater.
Geographically, his career has covered, well, the whole nine yards. He oversaw public facilities in Washington, which included the Tacoma Dome, the Tacoma Convention Center, Bicentennial Pavilion, Pantages Performing Arts Theater and a Triple-A baseball stadium.
That was followed by two years at Five Seasons Center in Iowa. In 1991, he became general manager of the Arrowhead Pond, now the Honda Center, in Anaheim.
His next stop was Dallas, where he ran the American Airlines Center, home of the Mavericks. During that 14-year stay, he also served as an LDS bishop.
“That was a real challenge,” he said. “My wife would tell me I’m an absentee husband, but she and the ward made it possible for me to be able to do the job.”
Mayne said skills he learned as a bishop included counseling, administrating and working with people and committees — each enhancing his professional career.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
He took the job at MetLife Stadium in 2012. On Monday, he rang the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Although weather is expected to be cold on Sunday, Mayne doesn’t sound terribly worried.
“The media is focused on the cold weather, but we’ve already had two really good dress rehearsals,” he said.
Like any host, the idea is to plan meticulously, do a dry run and expect surprises.
Then open the doors and get the party started.
Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @therockmonster; Blog: Rockmonster Unplugged