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Super Bowl Parties 2015: TheWrap’s Ultimate Guide to Best Invites in Phoenix

Rihanna, Drake, Mark Wahlberg (Patriots fan), Joel McHale (Seahawks fan) and more of Hollywood’s best people, places, and private industry parties on the weekend

This preview will be continually updating between now and the big weekend. Last updated Thursday, January 29, 2015.

The last time Hollywood invaded Arizona was for the Super Bowl in January 2008.

Mansions were captured, luxury car companies shuttled stars across the desert, and the Maxim party (featuring the late DJ AM) then at a mega resort north of Scottsdale looked like four or five of Brent Bolthouse and Jen Rosero’s best nightclub events cobbled together in an indoor/outdoor party pangea.

Howard Stringer, Kate Hudson, and Ben SIlverman at an Audi Party in Scottsdale in 2008. (Wireimage)

Howard Stringer, Kate Hudson, and Ben SIlverman at an Audi Party in Scottsdale in 2008. (Wireimage)

Only a 45 minute southwest flight, or (gasp) a 6 hour drive east on the 10, a second Hollywood assault is guaranteed.

The Super Bowl has not come closer than two time zones away since the last time it was in Arizona, before the economic armageddon and in a time when Blackberry messenger was not yet the preferred channel for on-the-fly communication.

In 2015, the choice events will spread out far. Celebrity events will focus on Scottsdale, official NFL events are in downtown Phoenix, and the game is in Glendale.

High (and low) lights from Super Bowl parties 2014 in NYC.

High (and low) lights from Super Bowl parties 2014 in NYC.

In event terms, ESPN’s party plants on hundreds of acres usually used for horse and auto shows,  10 miles to the northeast from their SportsCenter live show fan fest in Scottsdale, which itself is still 20 miles in the other direction from the actual stadium to the west in Glendale. The car will be your friend in Phoenix. Thankfully, they have uber.

Here’s what we know so far, in short form. A longer analysis and details follows below:

DirecTV is abandoning its annual celebrity and athlete “Beach Bowl” game for a multi-day, ticketed music festival with Calvin Harris, Snoop Dogg, Imagine Dragons,  the Zac Brown Band, and 12 concerts from Wednesday-Friday out in Glendale. It’s open to the public with tickets available here. On Saturday night, Rihanna will headline their 6,000 private party, which is a hard ticket despite the large size.

Calvin Harris headlined festivals and radio station shows in 2014. Now he'll play for DirecTV in Glendale. (Getty Images)

Calvin Harris headlined festivals and radio station shows in 2014. Now he’ll play for DirecTV in Glendale. (Getty Images)


Thousands of consumer contest winners checked in to  a whole #Whatever town this summer. (Jason Bahr/Getty Images for Bud Light)

Thousands of consumer contest winners checked in to a whole #Whatever town this summer. (Jason Bahr/Getty Images for Bud Light)

Bud Light renovates their annual “Bud Light Hotel” in to the #UpForWhatever House, continuing the promotion that took over Crested Butte, Colorado for an entire weekend last summer. They’re taking aim at millennials and EDM in their consumer-heavy activation. Calvin Harris in Glendale, Aoki in downtown Phoenix…see a theme here?

Maxim, who dominated the party weekend in 2008, is coming back with a more intimate 1,200 person party in a hangar in Scottsdale. The guest list is half the size of their previous model-heavy, bro-bashes.

ESPN's arrivals in NYC last year. Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For ESPN)

ESPN’s arrivals in NYC last year. Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For ESPN)

ESPN’s “The Party” holds down its usual Friday night timeslot, going to Westworld in Scottsdale. The headliners will be J. Cole and Charli XCX.

Rolling Stone returns to throwing a party of their own at The Venue in Scottsdale on Saturday night, Jan. 31, featuring performances by Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler, with Grammy-nominated singer Charli XCX opening the show. Meanwhile, DJ Cassidy will be spinning as Hollywood showman Jeff Beacher emcees the event.

Talent Resources Sports is partnering with Rolling Stone Magazine for the party, which is sponsored by Miller Lite. Eva Longoria is among the VIP guests expected to attend, along with NFL stars JJ Watt, Tony Romo, Johnny Manziel, Dez Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald.

Playboy’s party is Friday night at the W in Scottsdale with Nelly performing. The next night, L.A. nightspot Bootsy Bellows takes over the same space for a private party with Drake.

Host network NBC’s own party plans for their industry crowd have not been made available..

GQ and Audi, both frequent high end, private celebrity based events, are both on the bench. Unlike 2008, the Super Bowl gifting suite is dead.

(Top photo center, Eli Manning with Aaron Paul at DirecTV’s Beach Bowl in NYC last year)

Scottsdale will be the epicenter for industry social scene.

(Courtesy City of Scottsdale Economic Development)

(Courtesy City of Scottsdale Economic Development)

Of the five airports in greater Phoenix, it has the Teterboro-analog and is the choice for private fliers. They are expecting so much traffic, that the tightest list all weekend may be the reservations to get out on Sunday. From 5 p.m. Sunday through Monday, the FAA is tied in to a special reservation system with special departure routing to juggle all the egos trying to snag one of the 32 departure slots per hour on the airport’s single runway.

Bad news for the camera-shy: no waiting SUVs will be allowed on the tarmac.

For places with lots of cameras welcome, the NBA’s weekend interloping, why a NY Times fashionista is making waves, and lots of details on the best bashes and their lists click to jump to your celebration of choice. I have celebrated private, invitation only industry events from those being marketed to the general public as ticketed events. Our emphasis is on the private events.

Private Events

DirecTV Saturday Night with Rihanna
Neon Carnival (Yes! The one near the California festival in the desert)
Drake at Bootsy Bellows
Playboy Party with Nelly
ESPN Party
Gifting Suite: Kia Luxury Lounge
Bud Light House of Whatever


Ticketed Events
Super Bowl Game, StubHub’s Tailgate Party
Friars Club and ESPN Roast of Terry Bradshaw
Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay “Big Game, Big Give”
NBA at the Super Bowl
DirecTV Three Day Music Festival
Moves Magazine with Grandmaster Flash, The Ting Tings
Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo Host Leather and Laces
Tao Nightclub Pop-Up at Cake in Scottsdale
ESPN Live Broadcasts in Scottsdale

**Top Pick** DirecTV Saturday Night with Rihanna
Across the Street from the Super Bowl, Glendale, AZ

(Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Clara Lionel Foundation)

(Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Clara Lionel Foundation)

It’s Rihanna.

She will headline the 6,000 person cavernous party. She follows in two years of footsteps laid by the man who discovered her, Jay-Z.

Last year in New York, Beyonce’s appearance was a highlight with Jay-Z. The year before, Justin Timberlake (with a surprise appearance by Jay-Z) was the first appearance of Justin Timberlake’s comeback, and this year’s Super Bowl Halftime performer Katy Perry started this stadium-sized pop act trend in Indianapolis in 2012.

They build this tent from the ground up for this party. The view inside from last year in New York. ( (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for DirecTV)

DirecTV builds this space from the ground up for this party. The view inside from last year in New York. ( (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for DirecTV)

Michael Strahan is listed as a co-host alongside Mark Cuban’s AXS TV, which has been involved for years. Lots of industry and celebrity heavy hitters come to this, though they can get lost in the huge arena-like crowd. Unlike previous years where the celebrity football game “Beach Bowl” took place hours earlier, this year there is no last minute production nor sand to cover up.

The result: 6,000 people like Les Moonves, Matt Blank, Mark Cuban, Robert Kraft, Joe Manganiello, and other regulars can get in there easier. Now, can someone get Rihanna to show up on time and bring a great duet? (Note: She did tour with Eminem last summer.)

Neon Carnival
Phoenix, Friday Night

Different Desert, Same Party.

Different Desert, Same Party.

The famed late-night party that happens near that California music festival in the desert finds a new home on big game weekend. Don Julio and nightclub 1Oak are on board. Read more below.

Also read:Neon Carnival Party Coming to Arizona (Exclusive)

Playboy Party Featuring Nelly
W Scottsdale, Friday night

Drake at Bootsy Bellows Pop Up
W Scottsdale, Saturday Night

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

For Full Details, click here: Drake, Nelly to Headline Super Bowl Parties (Exclusive)

ESPN Party
Westworld in Scottsdale, Friday Night

Athletes love this one. The "worldwide leader" goes big.

Athletes love this one. The “worldwide leader” goes big.

Charli XCX and J. Cole headline the 2,500 person bash on a massive tract of land. This has the most athletes of the weekend anywhere.

For Full Details, click here:ESPN Drafts Charli XCX, J.Cole To Perform at Super Bowl Bash (Exclusive)

KIA Luxury Lounge Presented by ZIRH
Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, Friday and Saturday Daytime

The mass of gifting suites have largely disappeared at Super Bowl in recent years. Continuing a strong push from Sundance, Kia headlines this one, though they are not giving out cars. (Lebron, who has a deal with the company, has one.) Swag up for grabs comes from Bare Mixers, Beauty Kitchen, Nuvino, Popchips, Rafaello & Co, and Sabra Dipping Co.

Bud Light #UpForWhatever House
Downtown Phoenix (1st & Jefferson)
Friday-Sunday (Day and Night Events)


The Bud Light Hotel, a party palace for several past Super Bowls, is no more. Last year’s Bud Light Cruise Ship in Manhattan has sailed on. Now, the brew is giving out keys to the Bud Light House of Whatever.

The concept extends upon their hidden camera reality fantasy commercial (directed by Jackass’ Jeff Tremaine) that debuted during last year’s Super Bowl. It’s the one where an unwitting schmo on a blind date finds himself riding an elevator with Don Cheadle and a llama to play high rise ping pong against Arnold Schwarzenegger and take in a private concert with One Republic. The campaign continues through this Super Bowl.

Previously, they have brought in Paul McCartney to dance to Flo Rida, Mark Cuban, the Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boy, and Stevie Wonder for performances. This year so far, it’s the same (electronic) tune as everyone else: EDM.

Steve Aoki is the first guy who is up for playing the bash, and he accepted the invite by cake-ing the guy who hired him, VP of Bud Light, Alex Lambrecht

Aoki cakes Alex Lambrecht (VP of Bud Light) during the kickoff party in Phoenix the week before Thanksgiving. (Mike Moore/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch/Bud Light)

Aoki cakes Alex Lambrecht (VP of Bud Light) during the kickoff party in Phoenix the week before Thanksgiving. (Mike Moore/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch/Bud Light)

“We will have a millennial recruitment program,” Lambrecht told TheWrap We want to bring in millenials who show that they are up for whatever and want to have a lot of fun.”

There will be invitations sent out to key stakeholders in media, sports, and their customers.

Always a heavily consumer contest-winner event, with a much smaller ration of industry and influencers than other events, they’ll be welcoming 2,000 people per day (and night) to the corner of 1st Street and East Jefferson street. The Hotel Palomar will become the House of Whatever.

“The EDM music space is something that is important to us because it is important and relevant to the millennial consumer,” Lambrecht said..

Industry Pro Tip: Find the VIP area. It’s usually head and shoulders (literally) above the rest of the venue.

Ticketed Events

StubHub Pre-Super Bowl Tailgate Across the Street from the Super Bowl
Super Bowl Sunday, outside University of Phoenix Stadium

Every single ticket holder for the big game gets to come to this pre-party that starts at a college football-esque time: 10 a.m. The lineup is professional: Former NFL’ers, a zipline, food, booze, big screen TV’s and only a 3 minute walk in to the game.

Some tickets to the big game are still available as ot 3:15 p.m. PT on Thursday. “Get in” tickets start at $9,205 with prime seating close to the sideline going for $33,349 on stubhub.com.
**Top Pick for Ticketed Party **
Friars Club ESPN Roast of Terry Bradshaw
Biltmore Hotel, Thursday, January 29

Joel McHale hosts, while Erin Andrews, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeffrey Ross, and more will roast Terry Bradshaw in Phoenix. (Getty Images)

Joel McHale hosts, while Erin Andrews, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeffrey Ross, and more will roast Terry Bradshaw in Phoenix. (Getty Images)

Joel McHale hosts, while seasoned vets will roast: Jimmy Kimmel, Matthew McConaughey, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeff Ross, Jim Norton, and Rob Riggle. From the spors world, Erin Andrews, Frank Caliendo, Larry King, Howie Long, and Curt Menefee are also scratching out scathing things to say about the hyper bald/blonde cajun.

“What can these guys possibly say to me that isn’t being said daily on social media? Heck….I may even leave here uplifted,” Bradshaw says.

Joel McHale, announced as the host before his hometown Seahawks miraculously made the game, cracked on himself first: ““Last year, I entertained the President of the United States at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. This year, I am roasting a retired quarterback and sports broadcaster so to say that this is a lateral move would be stretching it to a point of absurdity.”

McHale is tough. He is a former college football player himself.

$500 Tickets available here.

Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay Host “Big Game, Big Give”
Private Residence, Paradise Valley, AZ; Saturday night early

Back in business. (Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/WireImage)

Back in business. (Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/WireImage)

Now that Wahlberg’s beloved Patriots are in the game, he is a natural fit with Bay. The bombastic director throws this event every year with a mix of localized celebrity co-hosts. Last year in NYC, it was Alec Baldwin. This year, it is his “Transformers: Age of Extinction” lead.

This is a fundraisers, so tickets and charity auction entries are for sale.

The Washington Nationals baseball team’s manager Matt Williams is a co-host also, so expect a healthy dose of pre-spring training baseball players. Williams was an assistant coach with the Diamondbacks for four years.

NBA: Chicago Bulls vs. Phoenix Suns
Friday, January 30
US Airways Arena

(Barry Gossage/NBA)

(Barry Gossage/NBA)

The NBA conveniently scheduled Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen to play the Knicks in Madison Square Garden the night before the NYC Super Bowl.

No clash of the icons this year, but the home game over the weekend for the Suns reminds everyone of what league we’re left with after the big game ends. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Hollywood’s old Laker pal Pau Gasol come from Chicago to play in town on Friday night.

Industry Pro Tip: Look for Bill Simmons. He’s been known to hit the Super Bowl eve games on the road.

DirecTV Super Fan Festival
Pendergast Family Farm, Glendale
Ticketed Music Festival from Wednesday-Friday nights, Private gala event Saturday night

Calvin Harris and Snoop Dogg are two of the performers at the multi-day festival. (Getty Images)

Calvin Harris and Snoop Dogg are two of the performers at the multi-day festival. (Getty Images)

DirecTV’s Jon Gieselman goes to the Super Bowl game not with a +1. He has a +224. The night before the game, they host 6,000 industry VIPs. That dish on your balcony is small. The company is big.

This year, they launch a music festival with Coachella level artists and the first thing I’ll mention is what’s gone – the famed Celebrity Beach Bowl game where big talent came to play for free…and legitimately had a good time. Not gone forever, it could always come back DirecTV tells me, but the new format expands their footprint (and the payoff for their weeks long build in) from one day to the whole week. It is a better value for them.

Come Sunday, they will have the best real estate. “Piece of cake,” they say. With a footprint right across the street from the stadium, it  helps DirecTV’s Senior Vice President of Marketing bring his 225-250 guests right in to the game. “Our guests will just walk across the street.”

Before Sunday, they will be on an island. The NFL is taking over downtown Phoenix and most of the Hollywood stuff is in and around Scottsdale, 20 miles away.

“I remember (2008), the traffic and congestion was oppressive down in Phoenix,” Giselman told TheWrap. “We were kind of happy to take a contrarian approach and be out in Glendale. It will be really people for people to get out there and will be the main event on that side of the city.”

For their big headlining act at their celebrity party on Saturday night, they have the same problem that the Super Bowl itself has: someone big enough to appeal and fill the space for their 6,000 celebrity guests yet has not done it for them before (Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Usher, are all alums.) My guess says either Taylor Swift or Beyonce.  It won’t be anyone playing in their three days of concerts before. We will find out in early January.

Like rolling through their program grid, they bring a ton of TV partners in their huddle from a variety of conglomerates, including Fox Sports, HGTV and Food Network, and Showtime, who has been with them since they started Super Bowl activations. Last year, Les Moonves was hanging in the VIP during Jay-Z.

Industry Pro Tip: Get to the chalet hospitality suites for Saturday night’s party.

Maxim Magazine Party
Saturday, January 31, 10pm-2am

Things will be different since its heyday in the mid 2000s. For one, they have a new female editor-in-chief, a coup in nabbing fashion industry luminary Kate Lanphear from “T: The New York Times Style Magazine”. The fashion press called this a “blindside”. She’s also known for styling shows at New York’s Fashion Week. This is a few aisles to the right from the mag’s traditional “hometown hotties” and an section of their website warning amateur models about fraudsters misrepresenting themselves as casting directors.

Industry Pro Tip: The first issue of their relaunch (March 2015) arrives right around the time of the big game weekend, so stay tuned to see the makeover in the book, and in person.

Cake & TAO Nightclubs’ TAO Takeover
Thursday-Sunday nights at Cake in Scottsdale

Lil Jon, Scooter Braun, and TAO boss Noah Tepperberg at the TAO pop up at Sundance 2014. (Seth Browarnik)

Lil Jon, Scooter Braun, and TAO boss Noah Tepperberg at the TAO pop up at Sundance 2014. (Seth Browarnik)

Fresh off of another hit pop-up at Sundance, TAO now heads one state to the South. Don’t expect Emile Hirsch to be on the list, though.

EDL Management Group’s Cake will have RUckus on Thursday night, Alessandra Ambrosio on Friday, Cedric Gervais on Saturday night, and the famed “LIV on Sundays” (from South Beach) after the game on Sunday night.

Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo, Erin Heatherton, and Lily Aldridge Leather and Laces
The Bentley Projects Gallery, Friday, January 30 and Saturday, January 31


Erin Heatherton, Adriana Lima, and Chanel Iman (not participating) at a Victoria’s Secret event last year.

A ticketed event with paid celebrity hosts, they always hire models and splash their glamour shots across the invitation. Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo, Erin Heatherton, and Lily Aldridge top the bill this year. Tickets start at $495 and go up with various table options, with the highest end real estate going for $25,000, a “Celebrity Cabana”.

Members of Cobra Starship will perform.

Nick Cannon Hosts Bounce Sporting Club “Sunday Funday” Tailgate
Calico Jack’s Cantina, Westgate Entertainment District (near the Stadium), Sunday, 10 a.m.

The NYC party place pops up in Arizona. A viewing party during the game follows.

Moves Magazine with Grandmaster Flash, The Ting Tings
Hotel Valley Ho (Scottsdale), Wednesday, January 28

Grandmaster Flash and The Ting Tings perform at one of the earliest celebrity parties of the week. Sports and celebrity lifestyle site Moves Magazines plants it in Scottsdale where others will follow. Former Arizona Cardinal Simeon Rice hosts.

Tickets start at $250.

ESPN Live Broadcasts Open to the Public
Monday, January 26 – Sunday, February 1
Scottsdale Fashion Square (7014-590 E. Camelback Road)

ESPN's last footprint in Arizona. (Courtesy of ESPN)

ESPN’s last footprint in Arizona. (Courtesy of ESPN)

Over 17 hours of coverage a day on average for the entire week leading up in the parking lot of the choice mall in the city. (Think: part The Grove, part high end retail like Beverly Center)

ESPN’s been pushing their shows out of the studio more and more, from season opening NBA games to the World Series to Monday Night Football.

Also read:ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ Hits the Road Because ‘It’s Not Really 90 Percent News Anymore’

For this spot, they fell in love at first sight with the view of the Camelback mountains in the backdrop and started locking this in back in December 2013. You might not be able to see the mountains though, with a permitted space for 82,500 lookie-loos on Saturday, the peak day.

Besides the comedic-sign-toting fans angling for camera time, retailers inside like Tiffany (who have the Vince Lombardi trophy visit) host parties inside. In a year where NFL wives were in the news for all the wrong reasons, something called the “NFL Wives Fashion Show”, a ticketed event at the mall, perfectly encapsulates the sprawling branded circus of Super Bowl week.

This party preview will be continually updated on a rolling basis, with coverage from the events to follow on TheWRAP and in real time on @CelebSightings. Send invitations, bookings, and tips to