SBD/January 10, 2014/Events and Attractions

NFL's Ambitious "Super Bowl Boulevard" Offers Departure From "NFL Experience"

Super Bowl Boulevard will include daily concerts and autograph sessions
The NFL plans on "closing 14 blocks of Broadway" to stage its Super Bowl Boulevard celebration for the four days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. NFL VP/Event Production Mary Pat Augenthaler said, "Some people think we are a little crazy for tackling what we did in New York." Best notes the city of Indianapolis "pioneered the concept of turning over several city blocks to Super Bowl festivities in 2012 -- complete with a zip line -- and soon thereafter, the NFL began making plans" for a version adapted to N.Y. The centerpiece of Super Bowl Boulevard "will be an eight-lane, 60-foot-high toboggan run, the only attraction that will charge a fee." Other features include "autograph sessions by day and concerts by night." Augenthaler said that she is "especially excited about a football-themed 'virtual theater' video presentation that will be projected on the façade of Macy's each evening." Best notes many familiar elements of the NFL Experience will be missing because there was "no suitable venue available in the metropolitan area." Augenthaler said, "I can't tell you how many times we say in meetings, 'This is not the NFL Experience.' We've done that for 20-something years. There is no formula for this. This one is from scratch." She added of the venue for the Boulevard festivities, "We're working essentially with a street. Normally we have a venue per se -- a field or parking lot or convention center. Working along 14 blocks is unique and different for us, but also very fun and challenging" (NEWSDAY, 1/10).

THE GOLDEN TICKET: The AP's Rick Freeman noted users in search of Super Bowl tickets are "directed to a resellers' website, operated by Ticketmaster," where as of Thursday evening, the "cheapest ticket available was over $3,000." Sellers on StubHub were "willing to part with seats for a little more than $2,500." StubHub Senior Manager/Corporate Communications Smita Saran said, "What we're probably going to see is over time, the closer we get to the game, the more the prices will drop." She added that before last year's game, StubHub was "receiving searches for tickets up to an hour before kickoff" (AP, 1/9).

LEARNING AS THEY GO ALONG: NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara on Thursday noted the Giants and Jets have "worked very well together" in organizing Super Bowl XLVIII and the related events, but he added he "certainly didn’t anticipate the complexities of dealing with" the states of New York and New Jersey, as well as New York City. Mara: "That adds kind of another layer to everything that you have to do. But we've had great cooperation from all three." He said it was a "good thing" that the teams will turn over operations of the Super Bowl and the stadium to the league because "they've done it so many times before" ("Francesa," WFAN-AM, 1/9).
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