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Volume 24 No. 159

Events and Attractions

A "confident group of NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee officials assured that the NFL’s first cold-weather, outdoor Super Bowl will proceed without a hitch, set a precedent for future Super Bowls, and be the first of many for the region," according to Jorge Castillo of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Giants Treasurer and Host Committee co-Chair Jonathan Tisch said, "Hopefully when we do all the tallying for weeks to come, the other 30 owners will say to themselves when there’s a chance to do it again: 'Super Bowl XLVIII in New York and New Jersey was a huge success. Let’s try to do this once every 10 years.'" The group emphasized that the "week leading up to Sunday and Sunday itself will be a success regardless of the weather forecast." Tisch "insists cold-weather sites can handle football's biggest event." He said, "This is a legacy that will live beyond the game itself" (AP, 1/27). Giants President & CEO John Mara said, "You’re certainly not hoping for frigid conditions. You don’t want it affecting the game on the field or, probably more importantly, you want the fans to be comfortable." He added, "Would I rule out any city based on weather? I don’t think so. Except for maybe Green Bay. Not enough hotel rooms" (N.Y. POST, 1/28).

BORDER WARS: Host Committee President & CEO Al Kelly said of the perceived bias toward N.Y. over New Jersey as the event's host, "I think from the beginning we recognized that the Super Bowl wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the assets of both states. New York doesn’t have the football facilities to host the Super Bowl and New Jersey doesn’t have a sufficient amount of hospitality and hotels to host the Super Bowl" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/28). Kelly: "There's 565 municipalities in the state of New Jersey, and through the various efforts that we've undertaken we've touched over 300 of them. Admittedly some of those touches were small; some of them were quite significant" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/28). Kelly "pointed to both teams staying all week in Jersey City, which also was the site Monday night of a Macy's fireworks display and concert." He said that the league had "struck 'a darn good balance' even with Manhattan's Super Bowl Boulevard taking center stage Wednesday through Saturday." In New Jersey, John Brennan notes Gov. Chris Christie "did not respond" when asked if he would the game (Bergen RECORD, 1/28). Christie, in his first public appearance to talk about the Super Bowl, said, "Now people can go have some fun in New York, I'm fine with that. ... But in the end, this is about the game. It's not about all the other stuff, and when the game starts at 6:30 and when the announcers come on they're not going to say, 'Live from New York City,' because that would be a lie" (USA TODAY, 1/28). New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker yesterday said, "I passed miffed a while ago. I mean this is ridiculous. Every time they talk about the Super Bowl, (you hear) 'we’ll see you in New York'" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/28). In N.Y., Kevin Kernan writes, "Yo, let's be clear about one thing. The Super Bowl is in New Jersey" (N.Y. POST, 1/28).

: In New Jersey, Linh Tat noted a "few hundred fans on Monday braved below-freezing temperatures" to attend the Macy's concert and fireworks show at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The show marked the "official start of a week of NFL-sponsored events" leading up to Sunday's game. The concert featured performances by Daughtry, Goo Goo Dolls and The Fray. The crowd was "thinner than most had expected, most likely because of the frigid temperatures" (Bergen RECORD, 1/28). Also in New Jersey, Jeff Green notes the two towns surrounding MetLife Stadium are "holding their own celebrations, without any promotion of the NFL." Officials in East Rutherford and Secaucus, who feel "slighted by the lack of attention paid to New Jersey in the lead-up to the big game," yesterday said that they are "still expecting a big turnout" (Bergen RECORD, 1/28).

VIKING QUEST: In Minneapolis, Mike Kaszuba noted Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday announced a "campaign to lobby the NFL for a Super Bowl" at the new Vikings stadium for as early as '18. Vikings officials said that they "are confident that the NFL, as it has done in the past, will award the game to Minnesota as an acknowledgment of the new stadium." Both the team and the NFL "implied, but did not directly commit to, bringing a Super Bowl to Minnesota during the legislative process." While Minnesota already is "one of three finalists for the Super Bowl in 2018, hurdles -- both logistical and image-related -- remain for the Vikings, Dayton and civic leaders." Yesterday’s lobbying effort "came as most schools in Minnesota were closed because of the cold, and the temperature Monday never reached zero" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/28). The AP's Patrick Condon noted Minnesota boosters "promised that even if the winter of 2018 is a repeat of this year, it would be 70 degrees in the stadium." The other Super Bowl finalists are Indianapolis, which hosted the game two years ago, and New Orleans, which hosted it last year. Minneapolis has "only staged football's biggest game once, in 1992" (AP, 1/27). ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Vikings have "created all these indoor tunnels so that a lot of people don’t have to be outside at all, which shields them from the outside." Schefter: "It creates almost like an indoor experience” (“NFL Insiders,” ESPN, 1/27).

The comments by Giants Treasurer and N.Y./N.J. Super Bowl Host Committee co-Chair Jonathan Tisch that the region would like to be considered to host the Super Bowl "every ten years" garnered myriad reaction from columnists around the country. In N.Y., Gary Myers writes it "might be that cold is the new warm when it comes to Super Bowls." If the league decides to "do this again, then New York will have to elbow out the likely competition from Philly, Boston, Denver and Chicago." Tisch knows if Super Bowl XLVIII "is a success, New York will face a battle from other cities that think they can pull this off." Tisch said, “I think the other cold-weather cities are very much examining what goes into making Super Bowl a reality. It’s not easy. We’ve got a lot of assets in New York and New Jersey and you have to look at that continually" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/28). In Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote under the header, "Super Bowl In New Jersey Is Super Bad Idea." Morrissey: "Does playing a game there make any sense?" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/27). In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs writes, "Maybe the NFL continues to play weather roulette and seriously entertains cold-weather outdoor ports until it is ruined." If this "isn't a one-time in 48-year deal, we'll continue to court meteorological disaster" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/28). In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz writes under the header, "Goodell Has Put Super Bowl At An Unnecessary Risk." If this "works and by late Sunday, people aren't confusing the swamps of Jersey with Denali, Goodell will radiate." Or he "could fall face first in a snowdrift -- and that would be funny" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/28). In Jacksonville, Chet Fussman wrote, "Let's not condemn the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather climate before the game even kicks off. The guess here is, it won't be the last" (, 1/27).

WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG? In N.Y., Mike Lupica asked, "If this is such a great idea, how come it took 48 Super Bowls to put this theory into play?" Playing the game in N.Y./N.J. was "probably a Lifetime Achievement Award awarded to the Giants, whose history in professional football only goes back about 90 years, and to the Mara family, which not only did so much to grow the sport in this country, but has honored it as a family business the way it has." Lupica: "I'm still good with all of that." But it will be known "in a week how good an idea this was, especially if bad weather produces a bad game on the night when the country goes to a football game" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/26). In Seattle, Jerry Brewer writes there is "a reason the NFL tried to avoid wintry conditions the previous 47 Super Bowls." The game has "become such a spectacle that the league needs ideal circumstances." The game "needs to be clean, not sloppy." Brewer: "I love watching playoff games in snowy Chicago or on Green Bay’s Frozen Tundra, but those are advantages the home team has earned." The Super Bowl "isn’t that kind of game." It should be decided "in the most sterile environment possible, at least in terms of weather" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/28).

BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE: SI's Peter King said, "They knew that there was a good chance that it was going to be a lousy weather day and very, very cold. It looks like they could escape and get pretty lucky." But King said the "biggest problem" is the 65,000 people attending the game have to get there two or three hours ahead "because of the massive security at a Super Bowl, so you’re potentially outside for seven hours in weather that could be very, very bad" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/27). Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman said, "They may luck out because it doesn't look like it’s going to be some crazy blizzard but his was just pure, unadulterated arrogance by the NFL to think that you can play Russian roulette with your primary, beautiful, best game of the year with the weather. ... If it's successful here they're not going to stop in New York. They're going to go to other cold weather cities." SI's Jim Trotter: "This is the most popular TV event in the country. And in my opinion when you stage a game like this, you want to give these players, who may never get another opportunity in this game, under the best circumstances to showcase their skill set. If it’s snowing, if it’s windy, if it’s that cold, they can’t showcase their skill set" (“Rome,” CBSSN, 1/27).

Ticket brokers for Super Bowl XLVIII yesterday said that the market for Sunday's Seahawks-Broncos matchup is "soft, and tickets are available for much closer to face value than anticipated," according to Gary Mihoces of USA TODAY. N.Y.-based Prominent Tickets Founder & CEO Lance Patania said, "Everybody said it's Wall Street, it's New York City, it's North Jersey, a lot of people, a lot of money, they're going to drive the market. It's been doing anything but that." He added, "The issue with the weather is one thing, but the teams are not drawing. If this game was in San Diego or Miami, it would still not be a good ticket because the teams are not sexy." California-based Spotlight Ticket Management co-Founder & CEO Tony Knopp yesterday said that he had been "informed of Super Bowl tickets available for $1,050." Knopp: "There were years in the mid 2000s where the get-in price vacillated between $2,800 and $4,000 right around this time" (USA TODAY, 1/28). In N.Y., Jeane MacIntosh reports more than 18,000 tickets "remained available on the secondary market" yesterday. TiqIQ VP/Data & Communication Chris Matcovich said, "Everyone had this notion at the beginning of the process that this would be a hot ticket and prices would match everything else in New York. The fact of the matter is that is not the case, and it doesn’t look like that will be the case a week out" (N.Y. POST, 1/28). Also in N.Y., Christian Red notes the combined 4,700 miles that separate the Broncos, Seahawks and MetLife Stadium is "another reason why brokers are worried they may lose a small fortune." StubHub communications specialist Cameron Papp said, "It’s not that surprising to see the decrease leading up to the event. ... If the Patriots had made it, it may have made it easier for brokers" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/28).

KEEPING THE FAITH: NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures Eric Grubman said, "The secondary market is very strong, but it has ebbs and flows. Tickets are in incredibly strong demand, and if anyone has any, I’m sure those of us up here who are getting calls would be happy to have them.” In N.Y., Ken Belson notes the NFL "perhaps indirectly played a role in the secondary market when it changed the face value of some of the tickets to the game." The league this year "lowered the price of the cheapest tickets to $500, from $650." Only 1,000 of them "were sold, and only through a lottery that 30,000 people entered." The tickets must be "picked up at the stadium on game day to prevent them from being resold." The league also "doubled the price of its most expensive tickets -- club seats that include access to indoor lounges -- to $2,500." By raising the price of the face value of these tickets, the league "unwittingly encouraged resellers to raise their prices, too" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/28).

BRING IN THE 12TH MAN: In Denver, Andy Vuong cites StubHub data as showing that Seahawks fans are "expected to outnumber Broncos fans by a clear margin." StubHub yesterday said that 18% of its Super Bowl ticket sales have "come from the state of Washington, followed by New York" with 14%. Colorado residents have "snatched up" 12% of tickets sold. That information "jibes with a report from SeatGeek," which said that 18% of all Super Bowl ticket shoppers are "originating from Washington" versus 8% from Colorado (DENVER POST, 1/28).

Attendance and participation at the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona "topped the charts" last weekend, "kicking off the inaugural season of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship series on a high note," according to Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. Daytona Int'l Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said, "It was a record-breaking weekend. It was bigger than our 50th." He added that track officials "think it was the biggest crowd in history, at least as far back as they've kept attendance records." Last weekend's race was the first "under the auspices of the new International Motor Sports Association, which merged the Grand Am and American Le Mans sports car series." IMSA President & COO Scott Atherton said, "The overall results for the weekend were outstanding and we are very pleased." From a competition standpoint, the race "seemed a success for the most part." Meanwhile, getting the crowds "off the track and into the stands before the start of the race on Saturday was the first test of the Speedway's new crossover gates." Chitwood said, "You could tell it moved people through a lot quicker" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 1/28).