AP FILE / JANUARY 2000
Among the jobs Frank Supovitz held before NFL senior vice president of events was NHL vice president. Here he is seen with Avalanche president and general manager Pierre Lacroix, left.
Supovitz sells NFL
Fresh off the Super Bowl, the VP is in town to run the Pro Bowl
Frank Supovitz, 48, is the NFL's senior vice president of events. His responsibilities include the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl. This is the first Pro Bowl on Supovitz's watch.
The 25-year veteran of events management formerly staged events for Radio City Music Hall and the National Hockey League.
He is the author of two books about major event management.
The Star-Bulletin interviewed Supovitz on Friday as he took in the NFL Skills Challenge.
Star-Bulletin: What's your background as a youngster in sports?
Frank Supovitz: I pretty much enjoyed any and every sport. I lived and died by the New York Mets, a typical kid from Queens. I was also a big Knicks and Rangers fan. I watched the '69 World Series and could tell you the Mets batting order.
SB: I imagine you don't have a whole lot of free time around this time of year, but what do you like to do to relax?
FS: When I have a moment, I like to spend it with my family. My wife, Catherine, and my three sons' sports events.
SB: As I understand your job, you are responsible for special events, primarily the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl. Are there other aspects that fall under your jurisdiction?
FS: The draft is also one of our responsibilities. So are international games.
SB: Today's Pro Bowl will mark one year for you at your new job. What have been some of the highlights?
FS: A high point is the opportunity to work on the world's biggest stage. The NFL is an exciting product to promote. It's been nothing but fun and hard work. Hard work, but very rewarding. And I really have a good group of people who know how to design, develop and create events.
SB: You described Super Bowl XL as absolutely perfect and a resounding success. Could you point out some of what the city of Detroit did right in order to facilitate such a successful event?
FS: There were a host of reasons. They were ready to do anything, to move snow, to control traffic. They had a great committee led by Roger Penske, and quite a volunteer force. One of the comments we kept getting was how friendly everyone was. There was also an incredible amount of cooperation from local businesses.
LaDainian Tomlinson was the Chargers' threat on the ground.
: While everything surrounding the game seemed to be fine, a lot of people complained about the officiating in the game. Do you have thoughts on that to share?
FS: Our officiating department is taking care of that. I have no comment.
SB: What are your thoughts on the globalization of the NFL?
FS: This past year we staged the first regular-season NFL game outside of the United States, in Mexico. Not only was it successful, but the attendance of 103,000 was a record for an NFL regular-season game. It really captured the attention of the Mexican public. If there were more seats available, we would've had even more people.
SB: Do you think a preseason game in Hawaii is viable?
FS: The decision to play here really comes from the clubs. I know there's been discussion. Ultimately it's a question of economics. Hawaii certainly has the facilities, the hotels and other infrastructure.
SB: The Pro Bowl often comes under fire for what some call a lack of relevance. Would this game be missed if it didn't exist?
FS: It's an all-star game, so the nature of the game is a little different. Every player on the field is a competitor, and they approach it that way. They're the reason the fans come, to see their favorite players. We're delivering a great entertainment product, so it is relevant.
SB: How disappointed were you that Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Jake Scott did not attend the Super Bowl to participate in the introduction of previous Super Bowl MVPs?
FS: We would have liked to have them there, but we respect their decision.
SB: Given your background with the NHL, can you comment on the gambling scandal in that league?
FS: No, that's an ongoing investigation. Wayne Gretzky is an incredible ambassador for hockey and I wish him the best.