More than 100 million viewers are expected to tune in Sunday night for the biggest sporting event of the year: Super Bowl LIII. And for the third year in a row, the New England Patriots will be playing in the annual National Football League championship game. The Brady bunch takes on the Los Angeles Rams at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons. Kickoff time is 6:30 pm ET. (The two last faced off in a Super Bowl 17 years ago, when the Patriots defeated the Rams, 20-17).
The 2019 Super Bowl is the Patriots’ 5th championship game in eight years, 11th since the event began in 1967. Beating the Rams would snag their sixth championship to date. Currently tied with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers for second-most Super Bowl wins, at five, a Pats victory Sunday would put them in a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for all-time wins.
As any Super Bowl fan will tell you, the game is only half of the fun. Millions of non–football fans tune in each year for the game’s glitzy halftime spectacle. This year’s headliners are the Grammy-winning pop group Maroon 5, along with rappers Travis Scott and Atlanta native Big Bou. Featuring wildly different hit singles, like Scott’s “Sicko Mode” and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You,” there should be lots of variety. And in a nod to this year’s Super Bowl host city, the national anthem will be sung by another Atlanta native, Gladys Knight, a seven-time Grammy winner, best known for her hit single (with the Pips) “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Atlanta-based sister duo Chloe x Halle will sing “America the Beautiful.”
In addition, millions more viewers will be tuning in to catch the famous Super Bowl commercials. This year, CBS is charging an estimated $5.1 to $5.3 million for a 30-second slot.
Where to watch
If the dip in Super Bowl ticket prices this year wasn’t enough incentive for you to buy one (tickets were selling for as little as $2,400 without fees on StubHub), don’t worry. Student Activities is hosting a viewing party in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom starting at 6 pm, with free food and great prizes like Rams/Patriots hats, shirts, jerseys, Beats headphones, a TV, and more. The event is open to all BU students with a valid ID.
“This is a tradition. This is like Matriculation, Marathon Monday, and Senior Week,” says Kenneth Elmore (Wheelock’87), associate provost and dean of students, of the ninth BU-hosted Super Bowl event. “You have to poke your head into this party. I don’t care how old you are or what year you are. Everyone is welcome. I think this is probably the largest college Super Bowl party in all of New England.”
There are a number of other viewing parties being hosted by various residence halls: the South Campus Hall Council viewing party is at 6:30 pm in the 520 Park Drive Basement Lounge, with free food and refreshments. In East Campus, the Myles Standish Hall Council viewing party is at 6:30 pm in the English Room. The West Campus Hall Council viewing party is in the Rich Hall Cinema Room at 6 pm, with food from Catering on the Charles and Raising Cane’s.
Street Closings, T and BU Shuttle service, and staying safe
Kenmore Square will be shut down as a precautionary measure starting at the end of the Super Bowl third quarter and will remain closed to pedestrians, bicycles, and motor vehicle traffic until the game is over, just as it was during last year’s Super Bowl. The MBTA will close the Kenmore Square T station during that time. Trolleys will continue to pass through the station, but riders will not be allowed to get on or off. All city bars will stop admitting patrons at the start of the third quarter as well.
“The Boston University Police will have added officers on patrol through the night to ensure a safe community,” says Robert Molloy (Metropolitan College’91), BU Police Department (BUPD) deputy chief. “We ask all students to celebrate responsibly.”
Because of the game, a number of roads will be closed Sunday between 9 pm and 1 am and the BUS (BU Shuttle) late-night service will be canceled. Commonwealth Avenue will be closed from the BU Bridge to Charlesgate in both directions, and Beacon Street will be closed from Charlesgate to Kenmore Square. Bay State Road will remain open. Brookline Avenue will be closed from Beacon Street to Pilgrim Road, except for garages and parking lots with no exit to another public way. All vehicles exiting should turn south towards Park Drive. Boylston Street will be closed from Pilgrim Road to Westland Avenue, and Ipswich Street will be closed from Boylston Street at Hemenway to Boylston Street at Park Drive. Other street closings: Landsdowne Street from Brookline Avenue to Ipswich Street; Van Ness Street from Ipswich Street to Yawkey Way and from Yawkey Way to Kilmarnock Street; and Yawkey Way from Boylston Street to Van Ness Street. No vehicles will be permitted to park on streets that are to be closed during the time frames indicated.
Students living in Myles Standish Hall, 610 Beacon St., should take Bay State Road to Raleigh Street and then a left on Beacon Street to enter the building. BUPD officers will be assigned to the area to help facilitate comings and goings.
If you’re traveling through East Campus during this time, plan on using Bay State Road. Or avoid Kenmore Square altogether.
“We’ve all gone at it hard the last few weeks,” Elmore and Kelly Nee, BUPD chief, note in an email sent to students on Wednesday. “It’s time to check in with friends, loved ones, and strangers, too. Meet up; enjoy the spectacle of Super Bowl Sunday; root for your team; and most importantly, stay safe.”
The Super Bowl LIII viewing party in the GSU Metcalf Ballroom begins at 6 pm on Sunday, February 3, and lasts until the game ends. Food and refreshments will be served. The party is free and open to all BU students with a valid ID.
Alex Pena can be reached at email@example.com.