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

Summit, N.J.

The Super Bowl will bring thousands of fans during what’s

traditionally the slowest time of year for the hotel industry in

the Northeast.

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

this season.

“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.