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Volume 24 No. 159

Events and Attractions

The NFL for Super Bowl XLVIII is "on the verge of approving a plan that would more than double the prices the league charges for the most coveted Super Bowl tickets," according to Matthew Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. NFL execs said that club-level seats in the mezzanine with access to indoor restaurants are "likely to cost about $2,600," compared to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans "where the top tickets went for $1,250." The execs also said that the "next-cheapest tranche of seats (those in the lower bowl) would cost about $1,500 ... up from $950 for the second-tier seats sold in New Orleans." They added that a "committee of NFL owners studying the matter is likely to approve the plan this week." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that the league is "considering the plan because it is interested in capturing some of the value it has been yielding to fans and brokers who resell their tickets at a markup." Not every ticket "will crack four digits," as the NFL is "dropping prices for the cheapest seats to $500 next year from $600" this year. The execs said that in all "about 39% of the roughly 77,500 seats would cost $1,000 or less." The NFL this season "plans to raffle off 1,000 $500 tickets -- but those tickets will be non-transferrable." NFL data on the secondary market during Super Bowl XLVII "shows many $600 tickets sold for $2,000 while seats near midfield went for up to $6,100 and premium club seats changed hands for $6,400 -- both multiples of their face value" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/17).

BOXED OUT: In Newark, Jenna Portnoy wrote not even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is "more powerful than the Super Bowl." Christie over the past few weeks had "boasted about how he would get to hand-pick two dozen VIPS for a sweet reward: the chance to enjoy the biggest sporting event in the country with him in his luxury suite at MetLife Stadium." But Christie’s MetLife Stadium box "will be out of bounds" on game day. Christie's Press Secretary Michael Drewniak said, "The governor does not have a suite for the Super Bowl." Regular season box holders like Christie "take a back seat to Super Bowl organizers who can command a pretty penny for the luxury digs" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/16).

The Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill., "played to solid reviews" in its debut hosting the PGA Tour BMW Championship, according to Herb Gould of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The course is "tentatively scheduled to host it again in two years, after the tournament plays at Cherry Hills, outside Denver, next year." There were "some parking and traffic issues, but the north suburban location of Conway Farms, and the support the tournament received from its members as well as the North Shore community, helped make the BMW a success." Play was rained out on Sunday and forced a Monday finish, but event officials said that more than 130,000 spectators "turned out during the week" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/17). In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein writes there is "little doubt" that Conway Farms will host the event again in '15. Western Golf Association President & CEO John Kaczkowski, whose organization runs the event, said, "It has been a huge hit." However, Greenstein notes traffic "was a mess." Kaczkowski said, "We need to address that, no question." He said that the tournament "will look into using parking lots that are farther from the course." Meanwhile, the players "had nothing but raves for the course, especially the conditioning and the greens." BMW's contract with the PGA Tour is up after Cherry Hills hosts next year's event, but the WGA and the tour "hope to sign a new contract with BMW before the calendar flips to 2014." Assuming that "happens, it's a near certainty the club in Lake Forest will repeat as host" in '15. The tour and WGA beyond '15 "will consider other Chicago venues, though few present a rigorous enough challenge, can handle 40,000 spectators and have an open membership policy" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/17). The SUN-TIMES' Gould notes Tiger Woods is "among those who think Conway Farms is worthy of hosting" the event again. Woods said, "I'm sure it will come back. ... Great sporting town. They've supported their sports here, and they've come out and supported golf as well" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/17).

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: GOLFWEEK's Forecaddie reports the '14 BMW Championship could "break the record" for the most money given to the Western Golf Association's Evans Scholars Foundation, the event's charitable beneficiary. Koaczkowski said early sales have indicated the tourney could net $5-6M for the program. The current record is $3.5M from the '08 event at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. This year's event "likely will push just north of $3 million." The '14 BMW organizing committee has recruited Pro Football HOFer John Elway and Broncos QB Peyton Manning "to join other sports celebs in a commercial to launch sales" (GOLFWEEK, 9/20 issue).