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Volume 24 No. 158

Events and Attractions

Yankees officials "liked the whole experience" of the NHL Coors Light Stadium Series enough "that they're all for" bringing it back on a regular basis, according to Barry Bloom of Yankees President Randy Levine: "If they want to come back, whenever they want to come back, the schedule is up to them, they're more than welcome. ... We love the event, but we'll take the lead from them." Bloom writes of the two games at Yankee Stadium, concluding with last night's Rangers-Islanders matchup, "The atmosphere was electric and the hockey fans were into it, with 100,132 attending the two games, 50,027 on Wednesday night" (, 1/30). In N.Y., Jeff Klein notes both games were "played in front of virtually full houses." The sellout last night "for a freezing night game was something of a surprise, as were the rising prices for tickets on the secondary market in the three days leading to the contest, although both developments could be seen as continuing signs of success for the NHL’s program of outdoor games" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/30). TSN's Darren Dreger wrote on his Twitter account, "Ballpark number (no pun intended)...6 outdoor games this season should generate aprox $20 million in revenue for NHL and NHLPA" (, 1/29).

LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT:'s Chris Peters summed up last night's game under the header, "Rangers Win Ugly In Another Perfect Night For NHL." The setting at Yankee Stadium, the sellout crowd, and the "glitzy musical performances" gave the game "an aura of something bigger." It "doesn't matter how the game on the ice looks when it comes to outdoor hockey." It is "all about the spectacle," and last night's game "certainly was that." The league's "outdoor gamble is working in spades." For the third time, the NHL "played to a packed stadium for an outdoor hockey game that wasn't the Winter Classic." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a postgame statement said, "When you think about the fact that we've played three outdoor games in five days to over 150,000 people, then throw in the Winter Classic and another 100,000 people, it's been an incredible month of special events" (, 1/29). But THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau wrote last night's game "from an entertainment standpoint ... was the least exciting" of the '14 Stadium Series. Outdoor hockey "doesn’t make bad hockey more fun to watch." Also, pregame and intermission performances by singer Cee Lo Green "went over like a lead balloon with the crowd." Last night felt like one "that was simply to be endured and not enjoyed by fans." This "isn’t to say the concept was a failure, but rather, that three outdoor games in five days is a little much -- and one of the three taking place midweek made it feel shoehorned into people's schedules" (, 1/29).'s Ray Ratto said, "We've reached the 'too many' part because almost nobody knows that the Rangers and Islanders are playing at Yankee Stadium ... because they already saw that on Sunday." Ratto added, "Unless you get crummy weather, the outdoor doesn't mean a whole lot. To me, I think they've overplayed their hand" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 1/30).

 In Chicago, Adam Jahns reports the NHL is "open to hosting a game" at U.S. Cellular Field. NHL COO John Collins said, "We’ll get through the successes of this year and we’ll be able to sit down and really figure out what the plan is going forward. But yeah, sure. Comiskey is a great park." He added that there "have been discussions" with the White Sox, but they "took a backseat" to the Cubs for the '09 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field because Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough worked as Cubs President from '84-07 (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/30). In Denver, Adrian Dater noted NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings "confirmed that Denver is under serious consideration" for a Stadium Series game. An outdoor game in Denver "was and always has been the biggest no-brainer on earth." Dater: "I’ll go out on a limb and say that MillerCoors would want the game to be played at Coors Field. And I’ll predict that the game will be against the Detroit Red Wings." The NHL's outdoor games "likely will be reduced from six to four, but Denver is an automatic to get one." Dater: "You think the NHL will say no to their biggest sponsor’s publicly expressed wish? Not. A. Chance" (, 1/29). TSN's Dreger wrote on his Twitter account, "4 outdoor NHL games likely next season. Tons of interest. SJ, Phx, Col, Bos, Minn, CBJ, etc. Toronto pushing hard for Winter Classic...." (, 1/29).

The snowstorm that hit Atlanta this week "likely will not derail any future bid to host a Super Bowl," according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. NFL Senior VP/Communications Greg Aiello in an e-mail wrote, "We would deal with a (Super Bowl) bid from Atlanta at the appropriate time." Ledbetter notes the Falcons "could be in the running for the Super Bowl" in '19 or '20 after completion of their new $1.2B stadium. The city hosted Super Bowls in '94 and '00, but "failed in subsequent bids" after an ice storm disrupted the '00 event. The Falcons, the city and state of Georgia "likely would be required, in light of the recent storm and the ice storm of 2000, to have a workable snow-and-ice removal plan for the metro area in case of bad weather" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/30). In Atlanta, Mark Bradley wrote, "Were I an organization considering where to put a major sporting event staged in the winter months, I’d look elsewhere." Imagine if Atlanta had gotten "two inches of snow on Super Bowl Media Day," and then "imagine adding team buses and media shuttles and Roger Goodell’s limo to the crush that hit our streets Tuesday" (, 1/29). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "I have been to Super Bowls in Atlanta when ice storms struck, and you look out your hotel window and see nothing but car crashes." ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "No Super Bowl should ever be awarded to Atlanta. All we did was stay in our rooms, point to the ground and say, 'Look at that'" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/29).

WEATHER NOT THE ONLY FACTOR: In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz wrote it is a "misconception that the NFL rewards Super Bowls based only on weather." The NFL rewards Super Bowls "to every city with a new stadium," so it is "all but guaranteed" that Atlanta will get another after the Falcons stadium is completed. But given recent events, it is "safe to conclude that the Falcons, city officials and the bid committee members will need to come up with an extremely detailed plan for the league about how it would respond to bad weather the week of their centerpiece event" (, 1/29).

OH, THE IRONY: In N.Y., Gary Myers writes the "chilly temps aren’t dampening Super Bowl spirits around here, so to the critics of having the game in a cold-weather city, please clam up." Or "better yet, take a look at what’s going on in some traditionally warm-weather cities." New Orleans on Tuesday "all but shut down after an ice storm." Atlanta "had two-to-three inches of snow on Tuesday, paralyzing the city." The "worst weather ever for a Super Bowl was in Miami" for the '07 Bears-Colts Super Bowl, and Sun Life Stadium "is a generation past being state-of-the-art." So while it has "been cold in New York, this is a hot town." Just "head to Times Square and you’ll find out" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/30). The weather in New Orleans this weekend may be colder than in N.Y., prompting Broncos President Joe Ellis to say, "It's good the game isn't down there." Ellis: "We've had a terrific week here. If you look at the weather report, it's going to get warmer and we're going to believe." He added players and coaches "haven't thought about the weather for one minute" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 1/30). NFL Giants Treasurer and Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee co-Chair Jonathan Tisch said, “How ironic is it now that the weather in Atlanta, in New Orleans, in Dallas is worse than it is in New York today?” (“NFL Insiders,” ESPN, 1/29).

: Eagles President Don Smolenski on Tuesday said that if the NFL’s decision to hold Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium "comes off well Sunday, the Eagles are likely to make a bid to have Lincoln Financial Field host the game." In Philadelphia, Mullins & Sielski note the Eagles "have not made a bid to host a Super Bowl" since the facility opened in '03. But Smolenski acknowledged that the team "would probably make a play to host" the game if fans and corporate sponsors "enjoy their experience in North Jersey and weather conditions don’t mar the game." The Eagles yesterday announced a partnership with Panasonic to upgrade the size and number of videoboards at the stadium, and team Owner Jeffrey Lurie "hinted at the idea of a Philly Super Bowl in the summer." It is "hard to believe that the timing" of the stadium upgrades announcement "is a coincidence" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/30). Also in Philadelphia, Marcus Hayes writes the NFL "will not be eager to endure another round of the criticisms that already have accompanied holding an outdoor event during a Northeast winter." Those criticisms "will escalate if Sunday's game becomes an ugly mess." But "certainly, New York, like Philadelphia, has broad enough shoulders to bear the security burden and to entertain the notables who make these sorts of events landmark" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/30).

DOING THEIR RESEARCH: In Indianapolis, Jon Murray reports Indiana Sports Corp Senior VP/Strategy & Operations Susan Baughman and other members of the Indianapolis Super Bowl Committee will embark "on a three-day fact-finding trip" to N.Y. ahead of Sunday's game. Others in the delegation are Committee Vice Chair David Lewis, President Cathy Langham and VP Rafael Sanchez. Indianapolis is competing with Minneapolis and New Orleans for Super Bowl LII in '18, and the three cities "will make final bid presentations to the 32 team owners during their spring meeting May 19-21 in Atlanta" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/30).

Thousands of fans yesterday "braved the freezing weather to stand in long lines" as the NFL's Super Bowl Boulevard opened in Manhattan, according to Kari Plog of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE. The area contains the "most affordable part of the Super Bowl festivities," including the toboggan run "built on the corner of 41st and Broadway in the iconic" Times Square area of N.Y. Fans yesterday "took pictures with the Lombardi Trophy, got autographs from NFL players and watched a live NFL Network broadcast." Event organizers built goalposts "in the middle of the street so passersby could experience the pressure of kicking a field goal in front of a gazing crowd" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 1/30). In N.Y., Barron & Santora report people were "bundled up watching football highlights shown on the Macy’s storefront at Herald Square, posing for pictures with 20-foot-tall Super Bowl XLVIII Roman numerals and running through a tunnel set up to recreate the experience of a player as he bursts out onto the field" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/30). ESPN's Trey Wingo said of Super Bowl Boulevard, “The fans are disagreeing with any notion that there is a better place to be than here right now” (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 1/29). In Hartford, Paul Doyle notes Times Square has "become the center of the NFL's fan activities, so it's a vital part of the league's marketing pitch" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/30).

GET THE SLED OUT: In Newark, Ronni Reich notes spectators "spilled over the outlines of a concrete island, holding up cameras, phones and tablets to capture a glimpse" of the Lombardi Trophy. While sidewalks "were clogged and lines long for autographs and other events," the toboggan ride may have been "the most spectacular attraction." Reich: "You could hear the screams as soon as you could see the 60-foot-tall, 180-foot-long, 8-lane run" (, 1/29). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jennifer Weiss noted the "massive eight-lane slope on the section of Broadway re-christened Super Bowl Boulevard drew long lines late Wednesday afternoon" (, 1/29). In Toronto, Daniel Dale writes N.Y. "is not falling over itself to embrace a Super Bowl being played in New Jersey," but it is "not snobbily ignoring the festivities either." Once you "got past the theatre touts and entered the carnival, there was indisputable evidence of the genuine irrational enthusiasm that fuels the NFL profit machine" (TORONTO STAR, 1/30). CBS' David Letterman said in his monologue last night, "The NFL has taken over Times Square. ... They’ve got a rodeo, they’ve got a petting zoo, they’ve got a whoopty-do, they’ve got a toboggan ride. So if you’re looking for a hooker, now you’ve got to go over to the United Nations” (“Late Show,” CBS, 1/29).

NOT ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE? SNY’s Rich Davis asked of the festivities surrounding the Super Bowl, “Is it just me or is this Super Bowl in New York thing a possible bust? Look how cold everybody looks. Everyone looks miserable.” SNY’s Steve Covino said, “It’s outside. Nothing is fun in the snow unless you’re building an igloo or skiing.” Davis: “All the things you are seeing in Times Square, in other cities -- these are things that are happening indoors at convention centers.” Covino: “So far, the vibe is a dud” (“Covino & Rich,” SNY, 1/29).

COLD SHOULDER? In Newark, Stacy Jones noted as "game day nears, several towns and organizers" in New Jersey "say they had to dramatically scale back or cancel their events." Officials and event planners in Newark, Montclair, Hackensack and East Rutherford said that securing "private sponsor dollars has been almost impossible" and the NFL, with its "many levels of leadership, has been difficult to work with." Even plans to "treat 350 bus drivers to dinner and a show at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst on game day, initiated by the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee itself, fell through when organizers stopped returning the restaurant’s calls." But the NFL "says it hasn't ignored New Jersey." League VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that the NFL "has numerous events in New Jersey this week, including Media Day Tuesday in Newark, and game day parties at the Izod Center and Meadowlands Racetrack" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/29).

The average ticket price for Super Bowl XLVIII "went from $12,500 to $7,768 and the average hotel room in the two states from $302.30 to $278 in the last few days," according to data from Web analysis firm Connotate cited by Yamiche Alcindor of USA TODAY. Experts said that the factors causing the drop in prices include "the weather, the teams playing and initial overpricing by overzealous businesses." Sports and entertainment experience company Goviva President Robert Tuchman said, "People were holding out hope that there would be a big rush for rooms once the teams were announced but I don't think it has happened." He added that now "reality is setting in and tickets -- some as low as $1,200 -- are the cheapest they have been in more than decade." Connotate CEO Keith Cooper said, "There are still a lot of tickets out there and as game time approaches, people are getting nervous about the price they are able to get for those tickets" (USA TODAY, 1/30). TiqIQ VP/Data & Communication Chris Matcovich said that he has "found his first Mezzanine Club Seat listing at under $3,000 for Sunday’s Super Bowl." Matcovich: "Prices, after leveling out, are beginning to steadily fall." He added that the current average list price "is $2,849.35 -- down 28.90% since" 9:00am ET on Conference Championship Sunday. In New Jersey, John Brennan noted the "average sales price is currently $2,717.10." The current "get in" price "is $1,511, which is down 32.33%" (, 1/29).

RISK VERSUS REWARD: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley wrote Super Bowl XLVIII is "working because it’s New York, possibly the greatest big city on the planet." It is "working because the NFL is sparing no expense, from police escorts across state lines to media parties with top-level entertainment." It is "working because the NFL needs this to work" (, 1/29). But in San Diego, Nick Canepa writes MetLife Stadium "never should have been allowed a Super Bowl" because it does not have a roof. Canepa: "I would hope for a blizzard if I didn't feel for the poor people back there who already have been through plenty enough." But even if Sunday’s conditions "are perfect ... this is a mistake." It is "going to be interesting to see how logistics work." N.Y. is "outrageously expensive without historic Super Bowl gouging" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/30). In S.F., Ann Killion writes the Super Bowl is "clearly in the wrong place." But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "wanted to showcase his empire" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/30).

: Security officials in N.Y. yesterday said that they "had prepared for potential mass transit terrorism on the routes to Sunday's game" at MetLife Stadium. New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said, "We've had meetings over the last couple of weeks. Of particular concern to us was what was going on overseas in Volgograd related to the Sochi Olympics." N.Y. Police Dept. Commissioner William Bratton said, "We have run a number of table top exercises that take into account any type of scenario that could unfold, a lone wolf type of situation up to and including nuclear radiation issues. Certainly, we're very well prepared" (USA TODAY, 1/30). NFL VP & Chief Security Officer Jeff Miller said that he "hopes the screening process for fans entering the stadium won’t take longer than 15 to 20 minutes once inside the security perimeter." In Seattle, Geoff Baker notes fans are "asked to do their part, by arriving at the game early and respecting the rules about what to bring in" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/30).

The PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open has become known for the fully enclosed, rowdy par-3 16th hole, and the tournament, which teed off this morning, has even more premium offerings this year. Event organizers have increased the number of skyboxes at the 16th to 200 for this week’s tournament. That’s up from 177 last year. Each skybox sells for an average of $46,000 -- generating roughly $9.2M in revenue -- and the tournament has a waiting list of 20 companies that want in. The stands around the 16th also offer general-admission seating for 4,600 fans on a first-come basis. Tournament officials project that 15,000-20,000 fans will surround the 16th each day of tournament play.