Sports fans see the Super Bowl as a battle of skill and determination, a fight for the right to be called world champion.
Others just watch for the commercials.
And then there are those who view the big game, and the days surrounding it, as the biggest party of the year. They live for the cocktails and the crowds, for the alphabet celebrities who walk miles of red carpet amid flashing cameras. Lucky for us, the party will be in Phoenix this year.
Want to rub elbows with Playboy bunnies or celebrities like John Travolta, Carmen Electra and Jamie Foxx? Be prepared to pay. The big events -- such as the Sports Illustrated party at Barcelona and the much-anticipated Maxim fete at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, both Feb. 2 -- will be full-blown affairs with entertainment that rivals Las Vegas, sumptuous food, and bars that never seem to close. The who's who of sports and entertainment will be in attendance, turning everybody into a paparazzo, and tickets will run about $2,000-$2,500 through ticket agencies. Of course, expect those prices to increase as the big day gets closer.
The nights won't end when the last high-heeled party girl staggers out of the big bashes, though. The clubs will be going right on into the breakfast hour. Myst looks to be a definite hot spot, playing host to Jamie Foxx's Night Before the Super Bowl party Feb. 2, and Axis/Radius is set to be a late-night celebrity magnet thanks to scheduled P. Diddy appearances.
As anyone who has ever lived through a Super Bowl week will tell you, event details will change, right up until the time the doors open. Also, a warning: Be smart about which parties you spend your money and time attending. While official Super Bowl events, and most of the unofficial ones, typically turn out as billed, not every promised celebrity guest will show. We'll do our best to steer you in the right direction in the coming weeks.
On that note, here's what we know so far:
Wednesday, Jan. 30
If you haven't donned a tux since your wedding, the Host Committee's Big Ticket Gala at The Phoenician Resort is your chance. The swanky affair, hosted by ESPN's Chris Berman, features Jay Leno as the headline entertainment, live and silent auctions, plus the National Football League's Hall of Fame traveling exhibit of football memorabilia. When: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 6-10 p.m. Where: Phoenician Resort, 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Former Raiders linebacker Howie Long and other Hall of Famers. Tickets: $1,250 to $10,000; e-mail [email protected].
Thursday, Jan. 31
The Scottsdale Waterfront will be home to 944 Magazine's entertainment village, featuring performances by national acts such as Velvet Revolver, Wyclef Jean, Paul Oakenfold and Juliette and the Licks. The magazine's tented city will host 24/7 entertainment, including chances to meet sport stars and celebrities, plus food tastings and art exhibits. When: Thursday, Jan. 31, to Sunday, Feb. 3. Where: 7135 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Major music and sports stars, plus some TV names, too. Tickets: Thu., Jan. 31, to Sun., Feb. 3, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. $116.50 (Thu. and Fri. general admission), $172.25 (Sat. general admission), $566.75 (Thu. VIP), $845.25 (Fri. VIP) and $845.25 (Sat. VIP). Daytime activities, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., are free for Arizona residents $5 for those from out of state. Tickets can be purchased at www.944.com/azsuperbowl.
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs brings his bravado outside Axis/Radius for Axis Super Thursday. Punctuality is not his thing, but partying is, so look for him to take the stage close to 2 a.m. When: Thursday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m. Where: Axis/Radius, 7340 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Mr. Combs, of course, and likely some of the celebs (like Nick Lachey) and athletes who will be appearing at the Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic Bash happening at the same time inside the club. Tickets: $200 general admission and $1000 VIP and are available at the clubs, 7340 E. Indian Plaza in Scottsdale, or through ticketmaster.com and 480-784-4444.
While Diddy entertains the masses outside, the aforementioned Lachey and others will be hosting the Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic Bash inside Axis/Radius. When: Thursday, Jan. 31. Where: Axis/Radius, 7340 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Wherever Lachey goes, Vanessa Minnillo is sure to follow. Party promoters promise more than 70 A-list stars and athletes, but no one ever knows who's really going to show until they walk through the door. Tickets: TBA in early January; call 480-970-1112.
Friday, Feb. 1
Carmen Electra hosts the oh-so appropriately named Leather and Laces party at the Galleria Corporate Center. When: Friday, Feb. 1. Where: Galleria Corporate Center, 4343 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Probably not Dave Navarro, unless the swag bags include eyeliner, but expect to see plenty of sports stars, and be on the lookout for FHM model Leeann Tweeden and model and mommy-to-be Brooke Burke. Roselyn Sanchez and Catherine Bell will co-host. Sugar Ray, featuring Extra host Mark McGrath, and Cirque du Soleil are scheduled to perform. Tickets: $500 for GA and 1000 for VIP; call 972-381-2758.
Saturday, Feb. 2
Hef and the girls next door throw their annual bash at Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass. When: Saturday, Feb. 2. Where: 5700 W. North Loop Road, Gila River Reservation, Phoenix. Who's going to be there: "Playboy" parties always draw a mix of athletes and celebs. Tickets: $2,000.
"Maxim"'s big bash will be at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, complete with red carpet, free-flowing cocktails and a whole lot of over-the-top party games. When: Saturday, Feb. 2. Where: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: If an A-lister is in town for the game, they will likely be at the "Maxim" party. Tickets: Prices vary, but are going for $2,500 and up through ticket agencies.
Snoop Dogg performs at the "Penthouse" Desire Super Party at Venue of Scottsdale. When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 9 p.m. Where: Venue of Scottsdale, 7117 E. Third Ave, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: At least Snoop and his entourage, plus a gaggle of Penthouse Pets. Tickets: $1,250-$1,800; call 212-382-2800 or visit www.admitone.com/desireparty.asp.
John Travolta and NFL Network commentator Marshall Faulk will team up to host Saturday Night Spectacular at the Galleria Corporate Center. When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m. Where: Galleria Corporate Center, 4343 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Howie Mandel and the Deal or No Deal models. REO Speedwagon and Cirque du Soleil are scheduled to perform. Tickets: $1,700; call 972-381-2758.
Sports Illustrated throws its annual bash at Barcelona. When: Saturday, Feb. 2. Where: Barcelona, 15440 Greenway-Hayden Loop, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Besides the pro athletes, expect to see SI swimsuit models and other high profile peeps. Tickets: It's invite-only.
Jamie Foxx combines his love of football and nightlife at the Night Before the Super Bowl party at Myst. When: Saturday, Feb. 2. Where: Myst, 7340 E. Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale. Who's going to be there: Foxx often shows up late to his own parties, but he almost always brings along a few celeb pals. Tickets: TBA; call 480-970-5000 or visit www.mystaz.com.
Eat like a professional football player at the Taste of the NFL at the Phoenix Convention Center. Big cheese chefs (sorry Green Bay) from each of the 32 NFL cities are paired with an alumni or current player from each team for the food and wine tasting event. Nosh, sip and meet players and celebrities. When: Saturday, Feb 2. Where: Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third Street, Phoenix. Who's going to be there: Popular chefs and popular sports stars. Tickets: $500-$6,000; call 952-835-7621 or visit www.tasteofthenfl.com.
Party with a purpose at the Red Carpet Event at the Athletes' Performance. Slightly different from other Super Bowl parties, the event will include an award ceremony for Tony Dungy, Cleveland Browns' star wide receiver, Braylon Edwards and Deanna Favre, wife of NFL legend Brett Favre, plus the requisite party activities. Biz Markie is slated to perform and the evening includes open bar and bites. When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m. Where: Athletes' Performance, 650 S. Atheletes' Place, Tempe. Who's going to be there: This party will be heavy on sports stars, so gaze away. Tickets: $1,000-$2,250; call 1-888-493-4224 or visit www.athletesparty.com/packages.html.
Sunday, Feb. 3
"MVP Main Event: Football's Finest," at the Phoenix Art Museum will honor the Super Bowl's MVP. When: Sunday, Feb. 3. Where: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave. Who's going to be there: Peyton Manning is confirmed, plus other sports stars, and a national recording artist to be announced will perform. Tickets: $1,000; e-mail [email protected].