The “troublesome temporary seats that left the NFL with a black eye” at last year’s Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium should be a non-issue this year at Lucas Oil Stadium because “there will be only 254 of them,” according to Tom Pedulla of USA TODAY. NFL Senior VP/Events Frank Supovitz said that the “decision was made in March to dramatically scale back initial plans that included several thousand temporary seats.” Supovitz: “One of the things we determined was that the temporary seating plan for Lucas Oil Stadium was aggressive and unproven.” The venue has a regular capacity of about 63,000 and “was supposed to seat 70,000 for the Super Bowl.” But the NFL said that it “will be closer to 68,000, with most of the additional tickets being standing-room only.” Supovitz: “It wasn’t a question of revenue vs. safety. It was a question of, ‘What is the best fan experience?’” He added, “Dallas didn’t really affect us as much as our wanting to get it right. ... We wanted to be sure that with any of the temporary seating that we had a comfort level” (USA TODAY, 1/27). NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures Eric Grubman said the goal for the Super Bowl, “just like any event that we run, is to be the best ever.” Grubman: “We want the fans that go to the game, we want the fans that watch the game at home to say, ‘That was the best game ever. That was the best Super Bowl ever.’ That’s what we want. That’s our goal.” He added, “We had a tough time in Dallas, We didn’t do everything that we should be doing. We talked to a lot of fans. We tried to make amends. We were successful with a lot of them. We’re still working through it. But we learned some lessons and the lessons that we learned we’re applying this year, and we have every expectation that this will be a phenomenal Super Bowl” (“Mad Money,” CNBC, 1/25).
BUNDLING UP: USA TODAY's Pedulla in a front-page cover story writes staging the game in Indianapolis “could be Step 1 of a process that persuades the league’s owners to award their coveted event to more cold-weather sites.” Giants President & CEO John Mara said that this year’s game and the ’14 game to be held at MetLife Stadium “will go a long way toward determining where Super Bowls are played.” He also pointed to DC and Chicago "as other potentially intriguing Northern sites." Mara: “I think there are some other cold-weather sites that would have a chance. There are some other owners who are against doing that, but obviously we had enough votes needed to get it here.” Pedulla notes Indianapolis and N.Y. are not “running from the weather issue.” N.Y. has a “snowflake in the center of its Super Bowl logo, and Indianapolis expects a winter festival atmosphere at its innovative Super Bowl Village.” Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee Chair Mark Miles said that the “three-block-long village was patterned after entertainment venues used to bring diverse fans together at Winter Olympics.” Miles: “If that works for the Super Bowl crowd the way we’ve seen it in the mind’s eye for four years, it will create an additional model for Northern cities and for the league” (USA TODAY, 1/27).
BUDGET BUSTER? In Indianapolis, Zak Keefer notes the average ticket price for next Sunday’s game “continued its steady decline over the past three days.” SeatGeek reports that following its “Monday-after-the-conference-title-game peak, the average ticket price has dipped” each of the past three days, from $3,943 on Monday to $3,781 on Tuesday to $3,460 on Wednesday to $3,156 on Thursday. By comparison, last year’s average ticket price for Super Bowl XLV “ran for $3,067” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/27). Also in Indianapolis, Bruce Smith noted the fan expense for this year’s game “is costing two to three times as much as a typical trip to the Hoosier state.” A comparison of airfares posted on Orbitz.com and other "popular online booking sites shows airlines have tripled the price of remaining seats flying" from N.Y. or Boston to Indianapolis. The price of “most hotels Downtown or within 15 miles has doubled or tripled -- if a room can be found.” Orbitz Market Manager Amy Carey said that prices “are ranging from $400 to $600 a night, with minimum stays of three or four nights required and nonrefundable.” N.Y.-based Elite Experiences President Robert Tuchman said, "I've ranked Indianapolis as the second-best city for holding big sporting events -- second to Miami, which has the good weather and more hotels." He added, "Indy is a good sports town, and the people there are great sports fans, but the city was second because it needs more hotel rooms" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/25).