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‘Hyped for Halftime’ Concert Draws More Than Twice Expected Crowd in Downtown Rochester

Thousands of people packed a blocked-off section of East Avenue on Sunday evening for a free pop-up concert featuring Norwegian hip-hop duo Nico and Vinz, best known for their single “Am I Wrong.”

The “Hyped for Halftime” concert was put on by Pepsi as a prize for a contest leading up to Super Bowl XLIX, of which Pepsi is an official sponsor.

Capitalizing on a steady increase in mobile usage — more than a billion people across the world now use mobile Internet devices, either smartphones or tablets — Pepsi asked people from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to post online videos or photos demonstrating their enthusiasm for the Super Bowl and this year’s halftime show, which will feature Katy Perry.

When the month-long contest period ended, Rochester had submitted 509 entries, beating the other cities by nearly 400 entries.
The concert was expected to draw about 3,000, according to earlier estimates by the city, but the Democrat and Chronicle reported that nearly 7,500 attended despite the cold weather.

And though the team won’t be going to the Super Bowl (which will be played between the Seahawks and the Patriots on Feb. 1), the concert showed local football pride by featuring the newly named Bills coach Rex Ryan and star wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who kicked off the concert along with Mayor Lovely Warren.

“I’ve heard so much about Rochester,” Ryan told the crowd. “I’m not surprised you’re the most hyped hometown in America — you deserve it.”

Nico and Vinz, whose real names are Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery, told the DandC that they “were basically just matching the level that was in the crowd already.”

“I hope [Rochester] remembers us as two guys that really just brought the energy level to a different level,” said Seraba.

The performers, like many people from both Latin American and European countries, tend to associate the term “football” with what Americans would call soccer. But they say they’re becoming acquainted with the American version.

“We’ve become more and more interested in the sport,” Sereba told USA Today Jan. 12. “We’ve started learning the rules. I’d say we’re definitely becoming fans.”