Robert Tuchman's been planning the hottest Super Bowl events for years
Tuchman, the president of Elite Experiences, is a consummate sports business professional. Author of "100 Sporting Events You Must See Live," Tuchman also started the Playboy party in the late '90s. He spoke to me candidly about throwing parties during the Super Bowl, chatting up Paris Hilton and experiencing Hoosier hospitality up close.
As a die-hard Jets fan, Tuchman cites his favorite Super Bowl ever as Super Bowl III (when the underdog Jets upset the then-Baltimore Colts in 1969), but when he's thinking about games he's actually been alive for, he dug the last Giants V. Patriots game in Arizona.
"I took my father-in-law to the game who is a huge Giants fan. We were going nuts; it was great."
Tuchman's planned hundreds of parties and private events for companies, NFL players and celebrities; he can count over 10,000 people he's sent to the Super Bowl with VIP packages.
The Playboy party was started in the late '90s by Tuchman, after the founding of his company TSE Sports and Entertainment.
"Unfortunately, the party turned out to be in a dude ranch in a club in Atlanta. The highlight of my night, (aside from meeting Carmen Electra), was taking a piss next to [Falcons tight end] Tony Gonzalez in the bathroom," said Tuchman. He plans to dine at R Bistro, his favorite locale restaurant.
Although few things can beat meeting Carmen Electra, other Super Bowl parties have surpassed the first Playboy party for Tuchman.
"The best Super Bowl party by far was the Maxim party when it was in San Diego back in the early 2000s. I remember talking to Vince Vaughn who was like, 'Get away from me, dude,' and also trying to chat up Paris and Nikki Hilton, (who wanted no part of me). But my favorite sighting was Joe Millionaire, the original reality TV guy. I remember thinking that everyone was at this event, even Joe Millionaire. Hilarious," said Tuchman.
This years' Super Bowl and related parties could pass up San Diego and Atlanta, though.
"I really think Indy is going to throw one of the best Super Bowls in history from an event and planning perspective. The Host Committee and the local CVB have been incredible in their attention to detail. They know everyone is doubting the city from the outside because the weather and the hotel situation. But folks in Indy know how to throw a big event," said Tuchman.
He's even ranked the city as one of the absolute best for large sporting events.
"I love Indianapolis as a city for hosting major sporting events [like the Indy 500 and Final Four]. In fact, in my book, I ranked it number two right behind Miami and ahead of New Orleans. I love the Village idea, I have a feeling other Super Bowl cities are going to build off of this idea and incorporate it into their plans," said Tuchman.
"I love the fact that Indy has this really tight, close Downtown. That helps for a Super Bowl because it gives the city a central heartbeat where fans congregate," he said.
For those who may doubt the long-term benefits of the Super Bowl for Indy, Tuchman gently reminds us about the big money that will be visiting the city this week.
"Remember, you have thousands of major corporate decision makers coming to town. These same people plan thousands of meetings and events each year outside of Super Bowl," said Tuchman.
These tastemakers and big spenders will no doubt notice the same things about Indy that Tuchman has.
"[My favorite things about Indy] is the people by far. [It's a] great sports town. The people know their sports, and from what I have encountered, are extremely nice," said Tuchman.
He's got one piece of parting advice for the Irsays, too.
"Peyton Manning should be a Colt for life."