New Jersey will fight with New York over hosting events and the 500,000 expected tourists for next year’s Super Bowl at the Meadowlands.
Officials representing the state on the Super Bowl’s host committee said at a conference Thursday afternoon at the annual New Jersey Conference on Tourism at Golden Nugget that they are working to funnel much of the tourism potential throughout the rest of the state — including Atlantic City, which one official said would be an “obvious” destination for those attending the game.
“We’re on it. We’re thinking about it. This is a huge opportunity,” said Kim Butler, spokeswoman for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. “We need to coordinate all of the assets we have and create a Super Bowl season.”
The Super Bowl host committee is made up of representatives of New York and New Jersey. Jim Kirkos, CEO of the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, said “huddle zones” are being created across the state. Each will have a captain who can submit ideas and suggestions for tourist destinations to the committee, he said. Towns are also being encouraged to form their own Super Bowl committees and plan local events at multiple destinations.
The committe also is developing a list of potential sites to draw visitors. It will host a convention in May at the Meadowlands for corporate event planners from across the country to showcase what New Jersey can offer.
“We’re scratching and clawing for every event we can get in New Jersey,” Kirkos said.
Committe member Wayne Hasenbalg, CEO of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, said even though New York City will be a big draw, many of the events before the game, including media day, will be held in New Jersey. The two teams will also practice and stay in hotels in the state, he said.
People coming in for the game — many of whom will stay a week leading up to the game — probably will not be staying in hotels in South Jersey, but Hasenbalg said Atlantic City would be an “obvious” destination.
CRDA Director John Palmieri said local businesses and tourism leaders have held initial discussions on ways to capitalize on the Super Bowl taking place 125 miles north and bringing in tourists beginning a few weeks before the big game.
There are always corporate and celebrity parties associated with the game, to be held Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, Bergen County. Palmieri said the city could host some of those events. The casinos are expected to implement fantasy sports gambling before the Super Bowl and could host viewing parties for people who just want to be close to the big game, he said.
Hasenbalg said the plan is to eliminate as many cars as possible and have an all-transit Super Bowl. They are working with public transportation agencies on how to transport all of the people.
A big concern for the National Football League was the power supply after a 34-minute blackout delayed the game in New Orleans last month, Hasenbalg said.
But the league sent representatives to tour the electrical lines at MetLife Stadium a week and a half ago and the league “has no reservations about what we’re doing,” he said.
A fourth power line to the stadium will be added for the game to be “super, super safe,” he said.
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