While most people were crowded around TV screens on Super Bowl Sunday, about 300 girls from Berkeley traveled one hour to Santa Clara to attend the game. A few months ago, an email was sent out informing girls of this opportunity to get to work at the game. I decided I had to go, signed some papers with my friends and then attended a paid three-hour training session a few weeks before the Super Bowl.
My friends and I got up at 5 a.m. to begin the drive to Santa Clara on game day. There was practically no one on the road — until we hit the one road leading to Levi’s Stadium parking lot, where we sat in traffic for more than an hour. This parking lot, which included parking for workers, was located about 15 minutes from Levi’s Stadium. There was a bus system in place that was responsible for transporting people from the parking lot to the stadium. Unfortunately, the wait for the buses took around an hour and a half because there were so many workers. The workers were also separated based on our differently colored jackets. We wore white jackets because we were hired through S.A.F.E Management, but there were multiple groups representing different security corporations.
Once we got to Levi’s Stadium, we had to check in and then were assigned jobs randomly. My friends and I were assigned to scan tickets in front of the VIP party. Some other jobs included crowd control, alcohol check and ticket scanning for the game. We also were given Super Bowl 50 hats, jackets and pins, which had our names engraved on them. After that, we had to go through security and get our lunches, which were provided by the management company.
The spot where we were working was located directly in front of the main entrance to the stadium, around 200 feet away. A huge dome labeled “NFL Friends and Family” was built for the VIP party. We were shown how to scan people in and then began our shift.
Throughout the day, many famous people came through to get their tickets scanned. Some of these people included Nina Dobrev, Jay-Z, Ben Stiller, Aaron Rodgers, Shaquille O’Neal, Julianne Hough and many football players and coaches from different teams. The VIP party went from 11:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., after which we got to go eat inside the VIP dome once the invited guests had left for the game.
Inside the dome, there were glass tables with yellow flowers and white stools spread throughout the stadium. There were huge screens displayed around each arch and in the center there was a bar with a giant ice sculpture that said “Super Bowl 50.”
After we had eaten inside the dome, we worked another shift where we were responsible for handing out meal cards. Once we finished there, we got to take a break and go inside the stadium. While we were on our break, the halftime show started and we had the chance to see Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars perform. The audience did a card stunt, which was invented at UC Berkeley, and turned the whole stadium into a rainbow of colors while a beautiful array of fireworks went off, creating a surreal experience.
After we watched the halftime show, we returned to our posts and directed people toward the buses. Once the game ended, huge clusters of people flocked toward the gates, many of which included celebrities.
Our shift ended after 8 p.m., at which point we went to check out. Due to the immense amount of workers, we had to stand in line for nearly three hours to check out with our game day cards and passes. Still, at the end of the day, even this was acceptable, as the management companies pay up until the point a worker is checked out.
If only every Sunday were Super Bowl Sunday.
Contact Emilia Malachowski at [email protected].