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Super Bowl DVD on Way, Without Halftime

9 Feb, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Super Bowl XXXVIII turned out to be a lot more exciting than expected — even without Janet Jackson's notorious “wardrobe malfunction.”

But while the Jackson moment won't be included in the Super Bowl DVD that Warner Home Video is readying for Feb. 24 release — rights to the halftime show weren't included — studio executives are still hoping for strong sales, given the game's photo finish and rumblings that the victorious New England Patriots may be football's next big dynasty.

“The final minutes of Super Bowl XXXVIII took fans to the edge of their seat,” said Christine Martinez, Warner Home Video's VP of nontheatrical franchise marketing. “And we are releasing this DVD just 23 days after the big game, providing retailers with a significant opportunity to maximize sales.”

Like all of Warner's sports programming, Super Bowl XXXVIII Champions will be available only on DVD. While most of the footage comes from the game, crews from NFL Films, the National Football League's in-house production company, have been following and filming each team since the start of the season.

Shooting intensified with the playoffs. Then, after the AFC and NFC championships, the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots each got their own team of producers who began sorting through the game films as well as archival footage to compile both a season recap and a historical team profile.

“We even had two package-art comps that we've created,” said Ron Sanders, EVP and general manager, North America, of Warner Home Video.

During the actual Super Bowl, the NFL deployed 20 film crews to shoot the game from every conceivable angle, a total of about 20 miles of film, said Cory Laslocky, communications manager for NFL Films. The footage was flown back to NFL headquarters in New Jersey on a private jet, and early the next morning, work on the DVD swung into high gear.

While game highlights are assembled into an hour-long film, other production teams put the finishing touches on the season recaps and team profiles, with an emphasis, of course, on the winner. Bonus materials will be added — one feature under consideration is a compilation of Super Bowl commercials — and about a week after the game the finished program will be sent off to be mastered.

In the days leading up to the DVD's Feb. 24 release, Warner's marketing team will converge on Boston to work with retailers to spread the word to New England Patriots fans, including radio promotions, in-store appearances by players and “midnight madness” sales.

This hometown marketing strategy has paid off well in the past, Laslocky said. When the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XXXI in 1997, upwards of 100,000 copies of the game video were sold in Green Bay, Wis. — even though the town itself, as of the 2000 census, only had a population of 102,313.

And two years ago, when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI, the resulting DVD was the all-time best-seller, with more than half-a-million copies sold. “It just caught the entire region by storm,” Laslocky said.

Warner also will look at Super Bowl TV ratings, “and in cities with the highest viewership, we can ship extra quantities, as well,” Sanders said.

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