SBJ/Dec. 16-22, 2013/Events and Attractions

In NY/NJ, talk about the weather

The New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee this week is scheduled to stage what is likely a first for an organizing group in 48 years of managing the big game: a media weather briefing.

The committee plans to invite the press on Wednesday to MetLife Stadium to discuss snow plows, meteorology, salt spreaders and the like, all important ingredients for the first Super Bowl held outdoors in a northern climate. There are even plans for a snow-melting demonstration in the parking lot.

Jets owner Woody Johnson (left) and New Jersey transportation official James Simpson
Photo by: AP IMAGES
This briefing follows a similar presentation on mass transit earlier this month, when the host committee made clear that trains and buses were the best options to get to the game. In fact, parking will be very limited, and restrictions will be heavy on taking car services and taxis, with no drop-offs. The sedans and limos will have to wait for their passengers.

For a typical sedan car service, the cost to travel to and from the Feb. 2 game is $1,320, said Roy Fugazy, whose eponymous transportation company is the official travel provider for the host committee. That means the car is more expensive than many seats to the game; those start at $500 and run to $2,400, with 40 percent under $1,000. And that $1,320 may just get you to a parking lot several miles from the stadium, with a bus link the next step, Fugazy said.

It all prompts the question: How will the wealthy corporate elite who typically populate the stands at the Super Bowl greet trains, snowplows and limo rides that still require a bus trip?

It’s no secret the host committee wants to host the game once a decade, so if the NFL were to get an earful from such clients, that might be as damning to the northern Super Bowl experiment as a winter storm.

“It’s going to be interesting,” said sports marketer Frank Vuono, chuckling. “[Fans] will have to do a lot more advance planning.”

Vuono, whose firm’s annual Super Bowl party is at a New Jersey restaurant within view of the stadium, has his own theory why weather and transit will make no dent in the demand for the game. Because about 30 percent of the people who attend Super Bowls are from the New York area to begin with, he said, there is a built-in local constituency for the game.

Many of the marketing, advertising and finance firms that send clients and employees to the game are based in New York, Vuono said. As a result, he added, “It’s a lot to do about nothing.”

The weather briefing will outline the steps the host committee has taken to ensure poor weather does not affect the game. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, a co-chairman of the host committee, said last week that hundreds of workers would be on standby to clear stadium seats and aisles of snow on game day.

As for the top weather question, whether a major storm could postpone the game, that decision resides with the NFL, not the host committee.

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