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The Unsung MVP in New Jersey

By Steve Guglielmo

As you may have heard, there is a pretty big sporting event going on this weekend. And while gambling sites (if such sites were legal!) have the odds in favor of Peyton Manning or Marshawn Lynch to win Super Bowl MVP, the unsung MVP of this weekend’s game is pretty clearly the material handling and logistics industry.

A couple of years ago, when the Super Bowl was in Dallas, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the employees at Cowboys Stadium as they prepared for the game. One common theme that I have heard about our industry is that we’re the industry that makes the world go ’round. Never has that point resonated more for me than when I wrote that story. At the time, Cowboys Stadium, just like the new Meadowlands (aka MetLife Stadium, a waste of sponsorship dollars if there ever was one), was a brand new stadium, and an absolute spectacle.

The most recognized attribute of the stadium is the massive video board that hangs over the field, measuring 152 ft.-by-72 ft. and weighing 600 tons. The screen requires a hoist system to provide control when it is raised and lowered and to prevent swaying when the enormous end zone doors are opened. The board is supported by specially manufactured wire rope.

Another aspect of the game that material handling had a large impact on was the concessions. Mike Rawlings, CEO of Legends Hospitality Management, the hospitality services provider for Cowboys Stadium, said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News that “More money will be spent in one day on food and drink than ever before in the event’s 45-year history.” With that in mind, it is imperative that the food and beverage be stored and transported in a way that optimizes time and space. The stadium houses a storage room that has been called “the biggest beer cooler in Texas” and is large enough to keep almost a quarter million bottles cold. The stadium utilizes a variety of equipment to move merchandise from storage to vendors. Kenn Harper, executive VP of operations at Southwest Materials Handling Company (Dallas, TX), provided the stadium with a TCM America pneumatic forklift that is used behind the scenes. He also notes that the stadium utilizes Taylor-Dunn tuggers to move things throughout the tunnels and the rest of the stadium.

Harper also played a role in making sure that the stadium looked its absolute best for the game. He provided the stadium with a 120 ft. JLG boom lift that is used for multiple purposes, including washing the massive windows of the outside of the stadium and hanging the banners that surround the field.

Here’s just a taste of the preparation that MetLife Stadium will undergo prior to the game this weekend. Some very interesting numbers in there that illustrate just how big a job (and how much material handling) it is.

Another interesting thing that I learned when doing research for that post is that the league uses all of its own equipment to set up for the game. A PR representative for Dallas mentioned that the league brought in all of its own pallets, storage and forklifts as they prepared for the game. One area that material handling will almost certainly play a vital role is the construction of the stage that Bruno Mars will play on at half time. While this would generally be your cue to go to the bathroom or refill your drink, make sure you’re back by the end of the show because you will probably catch a glimpse of some material handling equipment taking the stage down. And I’d be willing to bet that that equipment came from one of our MHEDA dealers.

I already love football. Now that I work for The MHEDA Journal, I feel like I have some kind of connection to the game (after my boys from New England got trounced by the Broncos). So as you watch the game this weekend, know that the material handling industry played a huge role in making the whole event possible.