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    Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and now’s the time for rideshare drivers to start planning. Below, senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur shares his key strategies for making the most money driving on Super Bowl Sunday.

    The Super Bowl is upon us.  The Super Bowl is one of America’s great traditions and is one of those few experiences every year in which most Americans do the same thing.

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    We gather, eat and drink, and watch not only a football game but also the commercials. Many people have their favorite teams, jerseys, even good luck rituals! However, as rideshare drivers, we may not be watching the game, but we may have our own good luck (money) rituals.

    This article will look at how you can profit from Sunday’s festivities as a rideshare driver and have fun doing it.

    Super Bowl 2021: Should You Drive, Deliver or Stay Home?

    Depending on where you live, your state may or may not allow for people to go to bars, restaurants, etc. Either way, chances are delivery drivers will be in higher demand than rideshare drivers since we’re all supposed to be social distancing.

    For Super Bowl 2021, it’s a good time to sign up for some of the more popular (and profitable) food delivery services, including InstacartDoorDash and Postmates.

    When we asked drivers on our Rideshare Guy Facebook page about their plans for Super Bowl driving, most said they would be driving for food delivery services vs. rideshare.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you determine: should I drive, deliver or stay home this year for the Super Bowl?

    • How open is your state? How much demand for rideshare there is will be based on whether or not people can go out to bars and restaurants. If your state is relatively open, chances are there are some who will relish the opportunity to see the Super Bowl on a big screen, with people and pub food. On the other hand, if your state is still closed for bars and restaurants, you can expect more people to order in.
    • How busy is delivery in your city? What has demand already been like for delivery in your city? Have you been busy or has it been fairly dead? How has pickup from restaurants been and how have deliveries gone? Basically, is it worth the headache to drive on a potentially busier day for the earnings? If you’re confident you can turn orders quickly and rely on your local restaurants to be organized, this could be a big day to clean up.
    • How much are you willing to drive? Again, depending on your city, it’s likely that there will be few ‘big events’ and fewer people getting together at each other’s houses. In this case, rideshare may be down but delivery orders may increase. That said, there’s a chance you will be driving around ‘smaller’ orders to more places. Be strategic about which delivery orders you accept, and try to stack them as much as possible.
    • How much do you want to see the game? Rideshare is likely to remain flat during this year’s Super Bowl, and more delivery drivers could be on the road due to the Super Bowl usually being a popular time to drive. If you really want to see the game, this could be your chance to do so before things rebound in 2022.

    Pre-COVID: Best Super Bowl Uber Driving Tips

    • Start driving two hours before Super Bowl kick-off
    • Drive during Super Bowl half-time
    • When the game ends, be sure to be downtown or wherever most people are watching in sports bars
    • Have a supply of barf bags
    • Give out free bottles of water for better passenger tips

    Is Uber Busy During Super Bowl Sunday? Planning Ahead

    Driving on Super Bowl Sunday can be really fun, and depending on where you live, there is a chance to see Super Bowl Uber surge.  I have done it a couple of times, and each time thoroughly enjoyed ferrying around party goers.  However, in order to maximize your revenue, you will need to plan your day. There are going to be a few key times of the day on which to focus.

    Two Hours Before The Game Begins

    Note when the game begins. On the west coast, it starts at 3:30 PM. That means it’s on at 6:30 east coast and 5:30 in the midwest.

    I found two hours before the game is a great time to drive and start your day.  It is not crazy busy like at the end of the game.  People are leisurely heading off to a friend’s home, or to a sports bar.  Food is being served up.  Spirits are high in anticipation of the big game.

    Demand will remain strong during this time, and you won’t get bogged down in traffic. Demand will continue to grow as you get closer to the start of the game, no matter which time zone you are in.

    Halftime / Beginning of 3rd Quarter

    Some people won’t be going to watch the game until halftime.  This is due to a common belief that the game doesn’t get exciting until the second half – whether or not you believe that might depend on if it’s your team that’s actually in the Super Bowl!

    Nonetheless, demand will pick up as folks will either be heading out to a friend’s home or to a bar, or you will find some folks moving from one party to another at half time.  At this point in the day, you can expect to see some passengers a bit inebriated.

    End of the Game

    This will be the busiest time of the day.  It is just like when the majority of bars close on a Friday or Saturday night.  Everyone, all at once, is ready to leave and get back home.

    You will want to be in the downtown section of your city where there are bars.  This will be a good spot to make pickups and drive some folks home.

    Dealing with Drunk Passengers

    Drunk passengers on Super Bowl Sunday are not the same type of drunk passengers pouring out of a bar at 2 AM on Saturday night.  The Super Bowl passenger is less of a regular drinker and therefore will feel more impacted by the alcohol.  Also, most venues have abundant platters of food, so the chance of serious barfing in your car is higher.

    Be careful and be sure to have plenty barf bags on hand.  We recommend Emesis blue barf bags.  I carry them in my glove box so they are ready within seconds, while other drivers keep them in the back seats closest to the passengers.

    One driver told us they like to designate the least drunk passenger with the ‘task’ of making sure their friends have barf bags – it’s a good strategy to try if you don’t drive drunk people around often! But whatever you do, get barf bags.

    This is how I handle drunk folks, regardless of the event: If someone seems inebriated, I start talking to the passenger. This will give you a good sense of the level of drunk you are dealing with. If someone seems ready to blow, I ask the passenger how he or she feels. “Are you going to be OK?”

    If the passenger seems less than responsive, I will suggest they open the window and get some air.  This would also be the time to hand the passenger the wonderful blue barf bag.  “Here you go, just in case you feel sick.”

    At this point, I look to see how much longer I have to drive before making the drop-off, and I hope we make it.

    Getting Big Tips

    If you want bigger tips on this festive day, make the trips enjoyable.  It is wise to know who is playing in the game so you can have a good conversation.  This year we will have my home team, the San Francisco 49ers, playing against my childhood nemesis, the Kansas City Chiefs. In my youth, Dad had season tickets to the Oakland Raiders. We hated on Kansas City. Go Niners!

    If you can do a little bit of research, that would be helpful. For example, know the quarterbacks. San Francisco has Jimmy Garoppolo, and Kansas City has Patrick Mahomes.

    A stadium full of people Description automatically generated

    I don’t normally recommend having water for the passengers.  However, when I drove a few years back on Super Bowl Sunday, I did buy a flat (24) of small bottled waters.  The passengers loved me for it. People who are day drinking really crave water because alcohol causes dehydration.

    You can be the hero by providing a solution at a very low cost. Passengers tip heroes.  Be the hero!

    What If You Drive In Miami?

    This year the big game is being played at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

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    When the Super Bowl was here in the San Francisco Bay Area a few years back, I stayed away from the stadium.  Most drivers headed to the area of the game.  From what I heard, traffic was a nightmare.  Sure, the surge was high from time to time, but since there were so many drivers, there weren’t enough rides to go around and make it worthwhile. In addition, the traffic was terrible.

    My strategy has always been to stay away from big events. Let the other drivers do that. Since most drivers head toward the event, that means demand for me away from the game will be high. I can get plenty of pickups and avoid the traffic.  Remember, we make the most money driving fast on the freeway.  We make the least money sitting in traffic.

    Last year, RSG contributor Joe drove during the Super Bowl. Here’s what he had to say about the experience, and his tips for driving successfully when the Super Bowl is in your city:

     

    Uber and Lyft Super Bowl Promotions

    As of now, I have not seen any special Super Bowl promotions from Uber or Lyft.  Uber will want you to drive exclusively for Uber. Lyft will want your loyalty as well.

    I expect there will be a promotion from each company. However, the promotions of late have not been at all eye-opening. If you can pick up a little bit extra, great!  But don’t expect much.

    Key Takeaways

    Have a great day.  If you start two hours before the game and wrap up two hours after the game, that will be a full eight hour day.  You should be able to crush it and have a good time doing it.

    Play the game on the radio, talk it up, and manage your tipsy passengers to get big tips.  If you are like me, you may experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) because you are not at the party.  Relax and enjoy, the party will be happening in your car.  Be safe out there.

    Readers, does your city have any particular events planned for the Super Bowl? Are there areas to avoid (downtown streets shut down for a party, for example)? Let us know how you plan to tackle the Super Bowl this year!

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    Get started as a gig worker today! Learn more:
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    -Jay @ RSG

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur, a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, is a full-time driver with over 26,000 rides. Jay has a driver-focused podcast: Rideshare Dojo with Jay Cradeur. When Jay isn’t writing articles or making videos, he is traveling the world. You can see what Jay is up to at www.nomadjay.com.