ORLANDO, Fla. – At Super Bowl 55, 22,000 fans at Tampa’s Raymond James stadium sat beside thousands of cardboard cutouts of fans who couldn’t be there physically for the big game but still wanted to be part of the experience. Ashley Below purchased one of those cutouts online through an NFL link but days after the mega event took place, she said she does not know if the cutout made it to the stadium and was never made aware of where it would be placed.
“It is a big investment still for me at the cost they were charging but something that I could make it work and afford,” Below said.
She thought she was going to get a link or some type of proof the cutout had been made.
“I initially assumed because they showed that they would provide us a link with the fan cam but that would’ve happened after they set these up before the game so he could see.”
Below, an Illinois native, made the purchase as a birthday gift for her father, who still lives in her home state, so he could be part of the thrill of the Super Bowl in some form.
“Unfortunately, I can’t afford to buy him a ticket either to get himself there physically, so this was a great opportunity to be able to say: ‘Hey! You have made it to a Superbowl’ and show him where his cutout was,” she said. “The biggest thing would be a picture of where it was so I could show my dad where it was.”
She said in her search to track down her father’s cutout, she sent an email to the NFL digital care department. Their response was for her to contact someone else.
“It was interesting because it even said to contact an official website but the website where you signed up and purchased it no longer exists -- that I was contacting, NFL.com that’s who it’s supposed to be, that’s who I contacted,” she said. “They said to reach out via Twitter, I did that as well. Unfortunately, that never came about to anything.”
On the NFL website, there is a link to a 360-degree view around the stadium where fans can tag themselves but several of the cutouts can’t be seen.
“The frustrating part about that, that I saw was -- you know, fans were there they were standing, they were blocking cutouts; even if I tried to scan the entire stadium trying to look for his cutout he might’ve been blocked by someone,” Below said.
Now, by sharing her story Below hopes to get some answers.
“It’s just so hard when you can’t approach anyone to follow up with it and even the fact the website you purchased it from is down so that was kind of almost a red flag of ‘Did I even purchase it from the right place? Did I do the right thing?’ So, I appreciate you guys looking into this.”
News 6 reached out to the NFL communications department, but no response has been sent. The company in charge of making the fan cutouts for Superbowl LV is Bluemedia Inc, located in Tempe, Ariz.