For the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee the clock is winding down, literally – their website has a ticker that counts down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the 2014 Super Bowl, which is slated to take place nearby in the Meadowlands and be the biggest Super Bowl celebration in history.
While the game isn’t taking place in Hudson County, a few local towns plan to host related events, including Hoboken and Secaucus, which have been designated Super Bowl primary impact zones.
While area residents are still debating who will host the next Sunday football gathering, out-of-town visitors will soon start thinking about which hotel will host them during their visit in February of 2014.
“This is likely to be the most expensive Super Bowl in history, from the ticket price to a hotel room.” – Jim Kirkos
Two types of fans
Is it time to get out the air mattress and set-up the futon for a visit from Aunt Bea in Florida with family and friends in tow?
Local business leaders anticipate a “frenzy” of reservations immediately following the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans next February, which is the focus at the moment.
Once the New Orleans Super Bowl is over, the area will see much publicity and attention on plans for 2014, according to Bill LaRosa, director of cultural affairs and tourism for Hudson County.
“You have two sets of fans who will attend the game,” said LaRosa. “One is the fan who attends no matter who is playing in it…the second group is [comprised of] the teams’ fans.”
LaRosa noted that the fans of the Super Bowl experience tend to book far in advance, whereas the fans that follow a specific team may not book until they know the outcome of the NFL playoffs in 2014.
“We just don’t know,” said LaRosa of the potential impact on the area. “We have never had this kind of event.”
An estimated 150,000 out-of-town visitors are expected in the area during Super Bowl 2014. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford holds 82,500 people. The northern New Jersey area as a whole has 10,000 to 12,000 hotel rooms, while New York City has 90,000 hotel rooms.
In Hudson County, most of the hotels are concentrated in Jersey City, Secaucus, and North Bergen, with one in Weehawken and one in Hoboken.
Despite the fact that some tourists may stay in New York City, which welcomed an estimated 50 million visitors in 2011 and $48 billion in spending, Hudson County destinations will be much closer to MetLife Stadium and provide less expensive alternatives, some with Manhattan skyline views.
Game attendees will have to compete for rooms with private companies, media outlets, and sports travel companies that arrange for accommodations as part of their travel packages. The NFL also books rooms for their teams, media, support staff, officials, and other professionals.
Rates going up
While some hotels in the area are unlikely to start taking reservations until February 2013, some are already sold out for 2014. The Sheraton Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken and the Westin Jersey City, which are part of the Starwood Hotels brand, are sold out for the week ending Sunday, Feb. 2, according to the reservation agents handling their calls.
Meanwhile, the W Hotel in Hoboken, an upscale Starwood Hotel, has a few rooms available starting at $619 during Super Bowl week, triple the rate for the same time period in 2013 when a room is available starting at $206 a night.
Places like the Hyatt in Jersey City, Extended Stay America, La Quinta Inn, and Embassy Suites in Secaucus said they are not taking individual reservations for the Super Bowl yet – and may not do so until a year before the event.
“Reservations are typically open to the public 365 days in advance; however, group and special project bookings are often made earlier,” said Mark Mahoney, vice president of sales for Extended Stay America. Their Secaucus hotel recently underwent upgrades. “We expect all Extended Stay America area hotels to be filled throughout the big weekend, with overflow stretching to Ramsey, Newark, Elizabeth, and beyond. Guests that normally stay in Secaucus for business will expand further from the area to find accommodations.”
Mahoney added that it’s too soon to state what the rates will be for Super Bowl 2014, but that they will be affordable.
La Quinta Inn’s current rates for 2013 end of January are around $144 and Embassy Suites has rooms available at $213, but the prices may increase for the event.
Secaucus hotels are often in excess of 80 percent occupancy regardless of the time of year.
Regarding the likely rate increases, “That happens everywhere,” said Jim Kirkos, president of the Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau (MLCVB), last month. He has anticipated that it will likely be very difficult to get a hotel anywhere in northern New Jersey.
“With demand always comes price,” he said. “This is likely to be the most expensive Super Bowl in history from the ticket price to a hotel room.”
“Regardless of what the [hotel] rate is, we will benefit from the taxes,” said LaRosa. Some local municipalities like Secaucus collect 3 percent of a 6 percent state hotel tax.
Some local residents are advertising rooms in their apartments and condos during that period (see sidebar), boasting of a James Bond-like kitchen and Manhattan views.
But most visitors will likely stay in hotels.
LaRosa anticipates that hotel overflow will cause people to stay in clusters at places that provide ease of transportation to the game, such as the Newark airport area, Route 17 in Bergen County, and other parts of New Jersey within a half hour drive.
If all else fails, Aunt Bea may just land on your couch.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.
Rent someone’s apt. in Weehawken, UC or JC – with stipulations
With the possibility that hotels will be booked solid during the Super Bowl 2014, some local residents are offering up their apartments, or rooms in their apartments, through web sites like AirBnB.com.
A search of that site for the period of Jan. 20, 2014 to Feb. 4, 2014 revealed a number of listings in the area.
One Weehawken dweller lists a private room with NYC skyline views for $59 a night.
A Jersey City resident offers to share a sunny two-bedroom apartment for $170 a night, but the individual must like cats, because the host has one named Tyson.
One listing in Union City for $60 a night has photos of a room that simulates a hotel setting with a sleigh bed, duvet covers, fluffed pillows, and even a bottle of champagne on a silver tray.
The host includes in the description that after a day in the city the, “private luxurious room with a queen size bed…will welcome you with open arms,” and that the visitor can “take a bath or soak in marble soaking tub with a shower head that makes you feel like your bathing in the rain.” The host goes on to describe the kitchen as out of a scene from a James Bond movie.
Tickets to the Big Game
The greatest number of tickets to the 2014 Super Bowl will be made available to the teams participating in the game, as well as sponsors, broadcasters, and other business partners.
“If someone really, really wants to go they will find a way to get a ticket,” noted Bill LaRosa from the Hudson County Tourism Office.
NFL fans may buy tickets at a hefty price from tour operators or ticket company vendors once they become available. For example, 2013 Super Bowl tickets for New Orleans range in price at online vendors from $2,500 to more than $9,000 and even higher for premium tickets at web sites like stubhub.com.