January 31, 2020

Super Bowl features clash of ground versus air delivery

Big game to feature TV ads about e-commerce, while traffic could trigger local parcel delivery delays.

By Ben Ames

Football fans who tune in to the 54th Super Bowl on Sunday may just be expecting to see a sports contest, but "the big game" will send ripples throughout the logistics world as well, from parcel delivery delays to TV ads about e-commerce strengths.

On the field, the game will feature a dramatic subplot comparing two foundational freight carrying modes—ground delivery versus air express. On the ground side, the San Francisco 49ers are expected to deploy their reliable offense based on a strong offensive line and a bruising running game. In contrast, the Kansas City Chiefs will likely take to the air with their high-scoring attack formed around long passes.

In other impacts, parcel delivery giant UPS Inc. is warning about possible service delays for customers in neighborhoods around Miami's Hard Rock Stadium, where the game will take place. Delays may be anticipated in seven Florida zip codes, due to government security measures and potential road closures, the Atlanta-based company said. In response, UPS has deployed contingency plans and will notify customers about package delays by email or text.

Viewers may also notice television ads touting a familiar theme, as retail giant Walmart Inc. has shelled out big bucks to include a parade of TV and movie characters, all lining up to pick up curbside orders—also known as click-and-collect—from Walmart. Seen as a push-back against amazon.com Inc.'s vaunted e-commerce delivery network, the ad includes cameos by figures from movies like "Star Wars," "Toy Story," "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," "Back to the Future," and half a dozen more.

Whether the ground or the air strategy prevails, the winners will hoist a trophy delivered by another industry power, FedEx Corp. The Memphis-based logistics and delivery company on Jan. 25 delivered the sterling silver Vince Lombardi Trophy to the site of the game, with the final delivery made by Lazaro Valle, a Florida resident and FedEx Express courier for 25 years. And just in case he fumbled that delivery, Valle was assisted by a sure-handed assistant, former Super Bowl winner and 14-year NFL Veteran Anquan Boldin.

"Today marks the 20th consecutive year FedEx has safely delivered the iconic Vince Lombardi Trophy, one of the most recognizable trophies in all of sports, to the Super Bowl host city," Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx' senior vice president, Integrated Marketing and Communications, said in a release. "Our annual delivery of this special hardware is one of more than a billion deliveries we make for and to customers each year. On behalf of more than 490,000 FedEx team members around the world, we are honored to deliver this trophy to football fans."

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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