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Super Bowl 'Radio Row' to include college stations despite steep cost

Thomas Barrabi

Dozens of stations will cover Super Bowl LIV’s pre-game festivities from “Radio Row” at the Miami Beach Convention Center this week, including some college productions that made the trip despite a steep price tag.

An annual fixture at the NFL’s biggest game, Radio Row serves as a staging area for media outlets ahead of the game. Aside from proximity to the Super Bowl itself, stations willing to pay for the trip and associated production costs gain access to celebrity interviews, top NFL players and other noteworthy guest appearances.

Production costs to host live from Radio Row can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, according to Jason Barrett, president of Barrett Sports Media. Despite the cost, attendees this year will include student radio stations from St. Bonaventure University, Columbia University, Syracuse University and Fordham University, Sports Business Journal reported.

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"Broadcasting from radio row can be valuable to a brand's image yet damaging to its bottom line,” Barrett told FOX Business. “The costs to fly, book hotel rooms, cover food and local travel expenses, not to mention the high fees associated with securing lines and internet, make it harder for broadcasters to justify going, especially if their local team isn't playing in the Super Bowl.”

For many radio stations, the event’s prestige is worth the price tag. More than 100 outlets broadcast live from Radio Row at last year’s Super Bowl festivities in Atlanta, Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Representatives for the Miami Super Bowl host committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For student journalists, a trip to the Super Bowl can provide high-level field reporting experience. St. Bonaventure has sent students to the game for three straight years.

"This is an extremely valuable experience for the students," Aaron Chimbel, dean of the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure, told FOX Business. "It allows them to experience and broadcast from one of the biggest sports and media events each year,"

St. Bonaventure covered the costs of airfare, which amounted to roughly $1,300 for the six students, Chimbel said. Since the radio station operates as a non-profit, students were permitted to sell advertising to cover other expenses, including food and local transportation.

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When funds are scarce, student journalists often rely on creative means to make it to the Super Bowl. For last year’s game, students from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications covered the costs of their own plane tickets to Atlanta, and relied on a generous alumni’s offer of free housing for their accommodations, the Daily Orange reported.

“It was just wild,” Syracuse student Jonah Karp told the student newspaper. “Aside from the fact that we were rubbing shoulders with the people we watch on TV, it’s just being there.”

Super Bowl LIV kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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