Super Bowl 50’s playing location may be in new stadium in Santa Clara, but the pre-game hype is centered in San Francisco. The City’s tourism industry is amped up on near-lethal doses of steroids and it is spewing on to the streets a mutant blend of football/corporate hype mixed with Orwellian fear of terrorism.
Going downtown on public transportation is an amusement park ride showcasing the schizophrenic sizzle of the Super Bowl festival. Getting on your normal morning Municipal Railway car you are likely to be greeted by three heavily armed “Homeland Security Police” officers and their kind of cute K9 companion. If you work near the last stop in an office by Super Bowl City (which last week was a city park popular with the homeless) you will have to go through an airport-like security check. The Feds, the State, and the City are very visibly protecting the Super Bowl City site from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
It’s unnerving to live in a police state. I am not saying that the fears of terrorism are unfounded, but I am not comfortable with the intense trappings of security.
Early afternoon yesterday I went down to Super Bowl City to see what we are protecting so carefully. The blocks around the foot of Market Street along the Embarcadero have been cordoned off for football festivities. Except there doesn’t seem to be too much there that’s football.
Corporate tents have sprung up along pathway after pathway. There’s a feel of a county fair with lots of people milling about. But, there’s nothing (or very little) to do or see. There’s no livestock to admire or wack-a-mole games to play.
Instead, you wander along and see one corporate logo after another. You can queue up in lines to see something inside one tent or another… but, I could never figure out what people were lining up to see or do.
City Stage at one end of the village offered non-stop music. I didn’t find the mid-day act compelling. I was content to walk with the beat on my way to the next area of the park.
I figured out that there were plenty of places to buy bad beer (sorry, Budweiser, but even if you are the official beer of the Super Bowl, you’re not first class). There were also places to buy fancy food… no cotton candy.
In area after area, there just seemed little to do or see for fun.
I thought that security might be so tight that I could focus on the overabundance of over armed police, but it wasn’t that bad. I thought that there would be a lot of tacky football stuff I could rail against.
Super Bowl City was spectacularly mediocre. Overwhelmingly corporate, dripping with logos, vicious in its blandness.
I hope the game is better.