via By Terry Lefton, Staff Writer

Activation plans for the NFL’s roster of corporate partners are nearing completion as the final day of the season approaches in New Orleans.

NFL official brewer Anheuser-Busch will continue to be a top advertiser, running 4 1/2 minutes worth of spots during CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII. However, it also is doing the immersive “Bud Light Hotel” for the fourth consecutive year. From Thursday to Sunday, Bud Light will transform a 200-room downtown New Orleans hotel into a venue that will host the annual EA Madden Bowl, along with Rolling Stone’s Super Bowl party on Friday and a Stevie Wonder concert on Saturday. Around 25,000 are expected to come through the downtown hotel during the long weekend.

“We can showcase lifestyle with this for consumers and our retailers, and leverage with a Bud Light Hotel ad on ESPN, Internet, video, consumer promotions and retail displays,” said Mike Sundet, vice president, Bud Light.

Tracie Rodburg, director of sponsorship at the NFL, said every NFL corporate sponsor will be activating on the ground in New Orleans. “It’s definitely bigger than last year, because we have three additional sponsors, and incumbent sponsors using more brands,” she said.

P&G’s Tide has a presence at the Media Center and also is running a Super Bowl ad. Other NFL corporate sponsors buying airtime during the game include Pepsi, M&M’s and Doritos, while longtime sponsor DMI, the milk producer’s consortium, has an in-game ad for the first time.

Pepsi is making its largest Super Bowl bet ever, with its halftime show title sponsorship and accompanying promotions, plus activation from PepsiCo brands Gatorade, Quaker Oats and Doritos.

Among other NFL sponsors: Papa John’s is offering free pizza to fans selecting whether the pregame coin toss is heads or tails; FedEx has a lemonade stand for charity in the Media Center; GMC is title sponsor of the NFL Experience and Game Day Fan Plaza; and Verizon Wireless is staging a series of events under the “NOLA 10” banner, which ties into the city hosting its 10th Super Bowl.

Of course, the ability of the Super Bowl to cement business relationships attracts sponsors and nonsponsors alike. Reliant Energy/NRG has naming rights at the Houston Texans facility, and will be entertaining 50 clients or prospective customers in New Orleans. “People want to be a part of the Super Bowl and we create a weekend that has business value and education as well,” said company CMO Karen Jones. “Super Bowl hospitality is something that absolutely does that. We can look at last year and see that.”