NY and NJ bet big on Meadowlands Super Bowl
The big bet for Super Bowl 2014? The weather.
Tourism leaders in New York and New Jersey are hoping thousands
of football fans flock to the region in the dead of winter wearing
overcoats with deep pockets.
The Super Bowl could bring in as much as $550 million to the
region, according to some estimates. But these measures, sports and
economic experts say, are an inexact and vary based on factors
ranging from what teams are playing to the weather.
That’s not such a big deal in Miami or Los Angeles, but the
average temperature for the Meadowlands area in February is
somewhere between 24 to 40 degrees, with several inches of rain.
And the game is usually at night, when temperatures drop. Did we
mention there’s no roof on the new $1.6 billion stadium?
That may keep some fair-weather fans away and the die-hards too,
if their flights are canceled due to snow.
“The quality of the game itself or the fans – depending on how
drunk they are – may feel the effects of the cold weather,” said
Allen Sanderson, sports economist at the University of Chicago.
Still, those in the region’s tourism industry were thrilled at
Tuesday’s news that Meadowlands secured the bid.
“This is a huge shot in the arm,” said Mark Giangiulio,
Chairman of the Board of the New Jersey Hotel and Lodging
Association, and general manager of the Grand Summit Hotel in
The Super Bowl will bring thousands of fans during what’s
traditionally the slowest time of year for the hotel industry in
The freezing weather usually scares away tourists and occupancy
rates typically sink to around 50 to 60 percent in February. The
Super Bowl should boost them back to the 80s – a level that hotels
usually see only in the spring and summer, Giangiulio said. And
hotel rates will soar during Super Bowl week.
“They’ll be the highest” posted rate of the year, he said.
“People who go to this expect to pay.”
Chris Heywood, a spokesman for NYC & Co., the city’s tourism
arm, said the Super Bowl is expected to bring hundreds of millions
of dollars to the city, in part from an estimated 250,000 visitors
expected to attend the NFL Experience public trade show. About
50,000 to 60,000 people are expected to stay in the city’s hotels,
while media sponsors and corporate sponsors will also be adding
their cash to the mix, according to his estimate.
Separately, a study commissioned by the owners of the New York
Jets and Giants football teams estimated the game could bring as
much as $550 million to the New York-New Jersey region, said Alice
McGillion, spokeswoman for the new Meadowlands Stadium. The study
was completed as part of the bidding process, and no breakdown of
the sum was released.
Sports marketing and economic experts though, say these
estimates are typically over-inflated and inexact. If two smaller
market teams come to the game, it hurts results. If the teams are
from nearby, it cuts into the hotel and restaurant revenue. And
rental cars, typically a big measure in these estimates, won’t
likely be used as much at this site, given the weather and
availability of public transportation.
“Move the decimal point one place to the left,” Sanderson
There is, however, the novelty effect of the location which
could draw a few fans or at least sell advertising. And with the
location so close to New York, corporations are more likely to go
as they could do more networking while in the area.
The bigger economic issue, sports experts say, is the selection
of this site underscores implicit agreement between many areas and
the league that if they build new stadiums, they will get a Super
Bowl. That encourages other cities to get taxpayer money to
renovate or build new stadiums.
The Meadowlands Stadium will become home to the Jets and Giants
“Is it risky? Of course it is, but it’s a measured approach to
take care of those that finance the NFL,” said David Carter a
professor of sports marketing at the University of Southern
“What would the economic impact be for the NFL if the Super
Bowl was not held there?”
Chris Kahn and Samantha Gross contributed to this report from
New York. Sarah Skidmore reported from Portland, Ore.