Happy Hybrid Super Bowl!

Remember big in-person parties? Those were fun… Large groups of people, gathered together near food, celebrating a common theme or event – like Non-Denominational Office Holidays? Halloween? The Super Bowl?… (SEGUE ALERT!)

Speaking of “The Big Game,” I want to wish everyone a belated Happy Hybrid Super Bowl! This year was one for the ages… And I’m not just saying that because I helped produce the Hybrid Super Bowl Party of 2022 – with attendees representing 3 countries, 4 time zones and 5 less-bitter-than-usual Jets fans. Perhaps it was the green Jell-O shooters?

With a few days to recover/assess, I realize my relatively intimate gathering is a successful microcosm for larger, HYBRID CORPORATE EVENTS – with slightly less tackling. In both cases, the attendee and brand experience must be championship quality… And the guacamole should be fresh.

So – for your consideration – I present the pros of Hybrid:

1. More Attendees.

When in-person was king, guest-lists were limited by size, location, budget, etc. Hybrid allows your list of attendees to be as long as Tom Brady’s career… No more leaving out friends who can’t travel. Immune-compromised relatives can now join care-free. And hardly anyone – should they choose to over-participate – needs to drive home after the “I’m going to Disneyworld!”

Hybrid is a tacit acknowledgement of safety and personal beliefs, with an emphasis on empathy and appreciation. It’s like having your own cheerleading squad screaming “I care.” And you do. After all, these are your people. Less Covid + Less guilt = A better, more memorable experience for everyone.

2. More Engagement.

With constant focus on the kind of hybrid experience you want everyone to have, you can curate your guest list and events accordingly, making them as inclusive and engaging as possible. For example:

To ensure I wasn’t the only Bengals fan in a virtual world of Rams, I zoomed in some reinforcements, like my cousin Boomer and the twins from Cincinnati. Instantly more inclusive, leading to greater connection and (trust me) more passionate discussion.

The most memorable experiences are always personal, and any event representative of more than one perspective is essential for enjoyment and productive discourse. Plus, it leads to more investment in the overall experience.

In previous in-person-only Super Bowls, I had one box pool going. This year – with so many attendees from all over the world – there were 5 box pools at once, plus countless games which had everyone invested in everything from the coin toss, to first touchdown scored, to best beverage commercial, to the set-lists of the half-time show. Everyone was empowered and participatory from beginning to end.

If you’re prepared, creative and execution-oriented, being apart is actually a great way to bring everyone together.

3. Better ROI.

Winning the Super Bowl is a numbers game. And your hybrid event is no different. Less in-person attendance means less beer, snacks, vegan hot wing alternatives and environmentally-friendly T-shirts that say, “My other Super Bowl Party is a hybrid…” Nowadays, this is a very good thing. Nobody wants to be cheap, but have you seen the price of chicken wings lately?!

Done right, hybrid also comes with far fewer surprise headaches and unforeseen costs. For example: property damage. Let cousin Boomer and the twins throw Miller Highlifes of joy and agony at their own 60” flatscreen… Additionally, you’ll save money on incidentals. Less people means less chance you’ll be picking congealed nacho cheese whiz out of the shag carpet until Tuesday. A professional steam-cleaning saved is a steam-cleaning earned.

Hybrid also allows you to get more creative within your budget. I took the extra money I saved and spent it on a e-ppearance by Wayne Chrebet telling the Jets fans “next year is their year.” Priceless.

Look… large in-person gatherings may one day make their triumphant return – like scrunchies, Mullets and Adele. But it seems we’ve come too far with hybrid to ditch these invaluable advantages entirely… Hybrid – at the very least – will always have a place in our hearts; and in our toolbox of diverse event solutions.

I should mention, all the aforementioned success would have been an unmitigated impossibility without the help of my wife. No matter the event, make sure you always have a trusted partner to cover your blindside… creatively, design-wise, production, vision, equipment and execution – one-stop-shopping to ensure your event runs smoothly and has resonance.  She even stayed up late with me to clean the nacho cheese whiz. Carpet looks great!

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