As part of the ongoing effort to ensure that New Jersey and northern New Jersey municipalities get a piece of the estimated $550 million in economic impact from Super Bowl XLVIII, the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce recently held The Big Game Experience, a daylong Super Bowl kickoff event in Secaucus. The event was part celebration, part business-to-business vendor exhibition.
The effort was designed to put New Jersey’s business community on the radar screen of corporations and others who are planning Super Bowl-related events for next February.
“Let’s say you’re a law firm and you’re planning to host a Super Bowl party for your top 10 clients. Well, you probably already know what New York has to offer,” said Chamber President Jim Kirkos. “But we’re here to tell you, you don’t have to go to New York for your catering, for your entertainment, your party rental needs. New Jersey has it all. You can get all that on this side of the river.”
It is expected that roughly 500,000 people will be in the New York metropolitan-area during Super Bowl week, yet only a small fraction of those people will actually attend the game at MetLife Stadium. In fact, the stadium has a seating capacity of about 80,000. So most visitors to the area will actually be here to shop, party, and visit various tourist attractions.
“Look, this game is expected to generate $550 million in economic impact. If New Jersey can get 35 percent of that, I’d be happy,” said Kirkos.
“The Super Bowl is two and a half hours long, but Super Bowl week is several days,” said Mackie, the “mascot” for Casino Resorts in Atlantic City. “We’re here to say to people, ‘Come down to Atlantic City. Spend one day with us.’ Atlantic City isn’t just about gambling. There’s lots of other things you can do. And contrary to what many people think, we are open for business. Hurricane Sandy did not wipe us out.”
Mackie, who walked around on stilts to help promote Casino Resorts, pointed to a map of the Atlantic City boardwalk and noted that only a short piece of it was taken out by the hurricane.
Maria Di Rocco, an area sales manager for Central Holidays, attended the chamber event to connect with people who might be booking tours for large groups.
“We work with travel agents who put together packages for groups of tourists. Of course, we expect there to be a lot of Super Bowl packages being planned for our area, and nobody knows our area better than we do,” said Di Rocco.
Most observers expect the restaurant and hospitality businesses to fare well during Super Bowl week. Hotel rooms from Jersey City to Hoboken and Secaucus are already sold out. But it remains to be seen what impact this will have on other New Jersey businesses.
“Look, this game is expected to generate $550 million in economic impact. If New Jersey can get 35 percent of that, I’d be happy,” said Kirkos. “Is that realistic? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what I do know: If we don’t fight for it, we certainly won’t get it. My argument is, let’s at least fight for our fair share of that $550 million, that way, we at least put ourselves in a stronger position to get it.”
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.