Mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York and Thomas Menino of Boston, whose football teams play in the Super Bowl Feb. 5, will appear in a television commercial during the game to call for a crackdown on illegal gun sales.
The two city chief executives are co-chairmen of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 600 they founded in 2006. They will dress in the jerseys of the National Football League’s New York Giants and New England Patriots and play on the regional sports rivalry, spokesmen for the two mayors said.
“There’s not much opportunity to have fun with a topic like this, so with the two teams competing against each other, the mayors, as founders of the coalition, thought they would take advantage of the large audience to get their message across,” said John Guilfoil, a spokesman for Menino.
Last year’s Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers attracted 111 million viewers and was the top individual telecast of 2011, according to Nielsen, which measures media audiences.
The 30-second commercial will run regionally, not nationally, Guilfoil said in a telephone interview. The coalition will spend “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on the spot, said Marc LaVorgna, a Bloomberg spokesman, in a news release.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns has investigated weapons dealers and gun shows with undercover buyers who have been recorded on video selling firearms to individuals posing as ineligible purchasers under federal laws.
“The coalition is committed to closing deadly gaps in the national gun background-check system that gives criminals, terrorists, domestic-violence offenders, the seriously mentally ill and other dangerous people easy access to firearms,” Giulfoil said.
New York’s mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.