Bud Light threw a one-of-a-kind Super Bowl bash, partnering with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH) to transform its newest ship, the Getaway, into the Bud Light Hotel.  The cruise ship was docked at Pier 88 in Manhattan on the Hudson River over the course of football’s biggest weekend.

Super Bowl 48 marked the sixth year that Bud Light has taken over a “hotel” in the Super Bowl host city, but this year is the first time America’s top beer company brought its party from land to sea.

“When the NFL decided to bring the Super Bowl to New York, it presented sponsors like us, who want to make a big mark and bring something to life in a big way, a challenge,” said Rob McCarthy, Bud Light Vice President. “When we thought about how does Bud Light breakthrough in Manhattan over Super Bowl weekend, we realized partnering with Norwegian and bringing the most technologically advanced cruise ship to town and transforming it into our hotel was the perfect idea.”

Bud Light rebranded everything on the ship, from signs, to pillows to bottles of shampoo. And the transformation wasn’t cheap. Crews worked a total of 1,500 man hours to prepare 300,000 square feet of event space, including the ship’s 45 bars and restaurants and 1,900 staterooms, for guests.

But not everyone had access to the Bud Light Hotel, admission is by invitation only.

“Consumer winners, VIP guests, retailers and partners are guests of the ship,” said McCarthy. 

Bud Light teamed up with EA Sports (EA), Pandora (P) and Pepsi (PEP) to hold events throughout the weekend.   The 20th annual “Madden Bowl” competition, with NFL players and celebrities competing against each other in Madden NFL 25, kicked off this weekend’s festivities.  Bud Light also hosted the “Pandora Presents” party featuring Imagine Dragons and a pre-game concert with Pepsi.

So why does Bud Light spend tens of millions of dollars promoting its brand during Super Bowl week?

“Everyone is talking about Bud Light Hotel.  We have the hottest ticket in New York for the Super Bowl,” said McCarthy.  “And it doesn’t stop there.  We’re exposing our concerts and parties to millions by live streaming events.   We’re bringing the events to life for many, many people and that’s why it’s worth it.”