Seemingly destined for a career in the entertainment industry, Nicole Premuto Fountain ’03 interned with Miramax Films and World Wrestling Entertainment and worked for Rolling Stone/Men’s Journal before tackling PR at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
From Bruce Springsteen to Bon Jovi and WrestleMania to Kenny Chesney, Nicole Premuto Fountain ’03 has worked her fair share of big stages and massive audiences.
But none bigger than the one she will face on Feb. 2, 2014.
“Commissioner (Roger) Goodell said it best at the NFL Draft … we’re on the clock,” says Fountain, senior manager of public relations and communications for MetLife Stadium, host of Super Bowl XLVIII. “The world will be watching. It’s going to be historic.”
Fountain is right. An estimated 160 million people will tune in on television and online, in addition to the 80,000-plus fans and media in attendance at the stadium. It’s a stage – an opportunity – few marketing and communications professionals experience. And this former Bloomsburg University campus tour guide and Phi Iota Chi sister will be right in the middle of it.
“We’re very excited, not nervous at all,” says Fountain. “We do this every week. We realize we’re going to have a much bigger audience, but that’s just more motivation for us.”
Unique to this Super Bowl will be the elements, along with its close proximity to New York City. It will be the first Super Bowl played in a cold-weather city where players, fans and halftime entertainers won’t have the protection of a dome. The weather is just one of the logistical details and scenarios being discussed and reviewed.
“Our specific roles are still being worked out,” says Fountain, adding the bulk of the planning is being done by the NFL and the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee. “It’s their game. I’m sure I’ll be somewhere in a social media command center monitoring and updating our stadium website and social media sites.”
Fountain says her colleagues – roughly 70 full-time staff from sales to guest services to electricians – will take a simple, confident approach to game day. As the only facility that is home to two NFL teams – the Jets and the Giants – MetLife Stadium hosts at least 16 games a year. That doesn’t include concerts, soccer matches, and possible NFL postseason and college games.
For Fountain, a member of MetLife Stadium’s marketing team, these events mean responsibility for media relations and event-day press operations, along with the website and all social media channels. “We do this every week,” she says. “We have a small staff, but we’re all really involved in event-day operations.”
Around the clock
A digital clock near Fountain’s office displays a second-by-second countdown to Super Bowl XVLIII’s kickoff. It’s a constant reminder of how quickly the big event – still months away – is approaching. Fountain admits she seldom notices.
“We’re really nonstop here, six to seven days a week from early April into January,” Fountain says. “Every day is different. Every event is unique. Each comes with its own challenges.”
Over the course of the year, MetLife hosts concerts, international soccer, moto-cross, monster trucks and entertainment events like the recent WrestleMania 29, along with college football matchups. Much like the stadium’s schedule, Fountain says she and other staff must be flexible. It’s a way of life.
“Anytime you work in the entertainment industry, it’s not a 9-to-5 job,” Fountain says. “During football season, we’re here six to seven days a week. Since MetLife opened, we have had two games on Thanksgiving and a Christmas Eve game.
“Your family needs to understand you may miss a holiday or birthday party,” she adds. “There are plenty of times I tell my husband I’m not going to be home this weekend … at all.” That family includes husband Justin Fountain ’03 and their son, Brecken Niles, born in May 2013.
Around her hectic schedule, Fountain makes community involvement a priority, serving as a board member of the New Jersey Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The third annual CCFA Touch Football Tournament — a fundraiser she initiated in 2010 — will be held at MetLife Stadium in October.
Although specifics are yet to be determined, Fountain has a basic understanding of what she will be doing during the Super Bowl. “When you have 80,000 people coming into this building, they have a lot of questions (about parking, beverage areas, catching the train),” Fountain says. “Social media has really taken over the game-day experience. You have to constantly monitor it before fans arrive, as they come into the gates, while they’re interacting with the event and, eventually, as they’re going home.”
As Fountain works to make the Super Bowl experience memorable for fans, she expects to be distracted from action on the field and to miss a highlight … or two or three. But she’s OK with it.
“You really have to like what you’re doing,” Fountain says. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t enjoy it.” •
Jaime North is marketing specialist and Web editor at Bloomsburg University.
What’s super about the Super Bowl?
- The Super Bowl provides an estimated $150 million economic boost to a host area, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
- Fans will eat an estimated 1.23 billion chicken wings the day of the game, according to National Chicken Council.
- Nine out of 10 TV viewers will watch the Super Bowl at home or someone else’s home, according to the Nielsen Co.
- Domino’s Pizza estimates it delivers 11 million pieces of pizza the day of the game, according to Domino’s.
- An estimated 11.2 million pounds of potato chips will be consumed during Super Bowl parties, according to the Snack Food Association.
- Antacids sales go up an estimated 20 percent the day after the Super Bowl, according to 7-Eleven Stores.
- Of the 10 most watched programs in American television history, nine are Super Bowls, according to the Nielsen Co.
- CBS charged between $3.8 million and $4 million for a 30-second commercial spot during the 49ers vs. Ravens Super Bowl in February 2013, according to the Washington Post.