Footballs aren't the only things being tossed during Super Bowl week.
Many of the nation's largest corporations are using the Super Bowl as an excuse to throw a string of dazzling parties.
"It's a week of one-upmanship," according to Vince Aspromonte, president of The Masters Group, a San Diego-based company that is arranging parties for corporate clients such as Ford Motor Co. and Miller Brewing.
"There are 75,000 people (here) to see the game but each client wants you to make it seem like they're the only company in town," according to Gary Church, a vice president with Patti Roscoe & Assoc., which is packaging parties for Chrysler Corp., E.F. Hutton and other corporate clients.
Based on past reports, the most super of the pre-Super Bowl Day parties will be tonight's National Football League bash, which NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle will host at North Island Naval Air Station. A fleet of limousines and 25 buses will carry those with tickets from their hotels to the affair.
But Rozelle's intimate gathering won't be the only Major League party:
Barron Hilton, son of Hilton Hotels Corp. founder Conrad Hilton, and Chargers owner Alex Spanos, will be co-hosts of a Sunday brunch at the Hilton Hotel & Tennis Club on Mission Bay. About 1,200 party-goers will be fed and entertained at the party, which is being billed as "King Neptune's Underwater Fantasy."
Hilton, who has been playing host to Super Bowl parties for about 20 years, will hold this year's party in San Diego despite the fact that his beloved Chargers won't be on the field. Hilton, who sold the Chargers to Gene Klein several years ago, regularly travels to San Diego from Los Angeles to attend Charger games.
Ford Motor Co., which believes it has a better idea of how to throw a party, will entertain 1,200 of its most valued dealers and customers.
In addition to the traditional pregame festivities, the nation's second-largest automobile manufacturer will stage a gala party on Monday night, after most Super Bowl spectators have gone home.
That affair--to be held in a hangar at Lindbergh Field--will be topped off with fireworks over San Diego Bay.
There undoubtedly will be some top-name entertainment at Ford's gala. During past Super Bowl parties, Ford has hired rock and pop groups including the Beach Boys.
Home Federal Savings & Loan will be host to 400 of its most important clients at an all-day party on Sunday in its downtown office building. Besides food and drink, those clients will be entertained by the Patrick Henry High School marching band, cheerleaders and a stable of magicians, musicians and performers.
Home Fed's bash will begin with breakfast and continue through supper; guests will be able to sit in in-office bleachers to watch pregame activities on wide-screen televisions.
The Hotel del Coronado, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, was host to 2,000 newspaper, television and radio reporters at a theme party Tuesday that offered everything from Marilyn Monroe look-alikes to roller-skating waitresses.
The look-alikes were on hand to remind journalists that "Some Like It Hot," a Monroe classic, was filmed at the hotel. The roller-skating waitresses were part of a "drive-in movie" theme.
Sea World closed its doors at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to be host to 3,500 journalists and NFL "dignitaries." The guests were treated to special performances, and Sea World's snack bars dispensed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres throughout the evening.
Corporations also will be putting on parties Sunday at a "hospitality village" at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. Those parties will take place in a 300,000-square-foot tent village that has been erected at the stadium.
A Baltimore, Md.-based catering company has erected an 8,000-square-foot commissary to prepare food and drink for party-goers who will be served by an army of 800 waiters, waitresses, bartenders, kitchen helpers, meat carvers, porters and cooks.
Because of the volume of parties that are part of the Super Bowl week hoopla, those throwing the parties are continually pressing professional party planners such as Church and Aspromonte to ensure that their events are unique.
Aspromonte has hired Gerry Kirk, of Solana Beach-based Sand Sculptures International, to build a 17-foot-tall sand sculpture for Isuzu in the lobby of the San Diego Marriott. The sand sculpture--one of several that Kirk and other sculptors will prepare for corporate clients--will incorporate nearly 40 tons of sand.
Ford's idea includes San Diegan Dennis Conner, who will narrate movies of his successful America's Cup challenge in Australia. Conner's Stars & Stripes, the boat he sailed to victory in Australia, also will be on display.
The U.S. Navy Marching Band will perform and Ford has hired a fireworks company for its plan to light up the night skies over San Diego Harbor.
Home Federal, which has decided not to entertain its valued clients at the stadium's hospitality village, will instead use its downtown office building to sponsor a daylong party Sunday for select customers.
The day will begin with breakfast and end with dinner. In between, guests will be able to watch ABC-TV's six-hour broadcast of the Super Bowl and its attendant activities on big-screen televisions that will be located throughout the building.
San Diegans who don't rate one invitation to the slew of corporate parties will be able to attend tonight's massive street party that is being sponsored in part by Great American First Savings Bank.
The party, to be held at Seaport Village, will feature "what is guaranteed to be the most spectacular display of fireworks and lasers ever in the skies above San Diego."
Great American settled on sponsoring the public party rather than select clients because "the Super Bowl is a citywide celebration and (this party) is our way of thanking the city and the Super Bowl Task Force," according to a spokesman.