Super Bowl XLVIII: Big Game, Big Crowd, Big Money

New York City is pulling out all the stops to commemorate the upcoming Super Bowl, the first game to be played outdoors in a cold-weather city.

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Super Bowl XLVIII

Photo By Courtesy Photo

The Starter Super Bowl jacket.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

If you host it, they will come.

New York’s retailers, hotels, restaurants, bars, taxis, theaters and hundreds of other businesses of all size and scale are getting ready to cash in on Super Bowl XLVIII. The big event is scheduled for MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 2, and it’ll be the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold-weather city.

The game — and the myriad celebratory events that will surround it — are expected to draw 400,000 visitors and bring in $500 million to $600 million in revenue to the New York and New Jersey region, according to an economic impact study conducted by the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee.

As a point of comparison, the combined impact of New York Fashion Week in both February and September in 2012 was $865 million, according to the New York City Economic Development Corp. And WrestleMania 29, the WWE’s big event that was held at MetLife Stadium in April, brought $101.2 million to the New York and New Jersey area, according to an economic impact study conducted for WWE.

All told, New York City counted 54.3 million visitors in 2013 — a record number — and those people generated $58.7 billion in overall economic impact and $39.4 billion in direct spending, according to NYC & Co., the city’s marketing and tourism arm.

The hoopla will kick off tonight when Bloomingdale’s unveils 48 one-of-a-kind football helmets designed by members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The helmets will take over the windows of the flagship on 59th Street starting at 5 p.m., followed by a star-studded tailgating party at a nearby hotel, which is expected to draw NFL players and CFDA designers. The helmets will be auctioned off, starting with opening bids of $248, and the proceeds will go to the NFL Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football.

“Bloomingdale’s New York heritage, combined with the fact that Super Bowl [XLVIII] is taking place in our backyard, gives us an opportunity to merge fashion and sports in a modern way,” said Frank Berman, Bloomingdale’s executive vice president of marketing. “Through our unique collaborations, merchandise and special events, we are able to celebrate Super Bowl [XLVIII] in-store and online, bringing the excitement of this iconic event to our shoppers across a variety of touch points, all while supporting the NFL Foundation.”

Bloomingdale’s is also installing pop-up shops selling Super Bowl-related apparel and accessories from Nike, Junk Food, Smart Turnout and Freshman Cap, at New York-area stores and online.

But perhaps the biggest statement of all will be Super Bowl Boulevard.

Starting Jan. 29, the National Football League and NYC & Co. will take over Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets for a four-day festival featuring local music; food and beverage; television broadcasts; interactive fan events, including a toboggan ride; NFL sponsor activations, and NFL player autograph signings and appearances. The event is free but the public is being asked to register for tickets in advance.

Tracy Perlman, vice president of entertainment marketing and promotions for the NFL, said the pedestrian plazas already in place on Broadway will be extended for this event — undoubtedly causing more of a traffic nightmare — but the cross-streets will remain open. “It’s a space for the public to interact with NFL players,” she said. She stressed that no merchandise will be for sale on Super Bowl Boulevard and the $5 ticket price for the toboggan rides will benefit the MillionTreesNYC charity.

At the southern end, there will be a Super Bowl virtual theater, with a nightly 10-minute Super Bowl-related video and musical show that will be broadcast on the facade of the Macy’s flagship.

On Sunday, Macy’s will unveil a 36,000-square-foot NFL Shop at Super Bowl, the city’s largest Super Bowl store, on the fourth floor of the Herald Square store. A Macy’s spokeswoman said the retailer converted “raw space” that will eventually be converted into a men’s floor for the shop. It is being operated by Lids Sports Group, which signed a deal in August to open licensed team merchandise shops in Macy’s stores around the country under the name Locker Room by Lids.

Outside of Manhattan, 15 Locker Room by Lids pop-up Super Bowl shops will be added to stores in the New York and New Jersey areas, including key doors such as Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.; Roosevelt Field in Garden City, N.Y.; Brooklyn, and Queens.

Throughout the week before the game, Macy’s will host player appearances, family fan day, fashion shows and an exhibition of NFL memorabilia.

“Macy’s Herald Square is one of the most dynamic retail environments in the world and the only department store that can bring football fans the world’s largest NFL Shop at Super Bowl,” said Louis Mastrogiacomo, senior vice president of fashion and product office, leased businesses and multicultural vendor business development for Macy’s. “Our close collaboration with Lids created a once-in-a-lifetime retail opportunity to showcase the extensive collection of NFL team product in a custom-designed 36,000-square-foot space at Macy’s Herald Square.”

The shop will offer official licensed team and Super Bowl XLVIII apparel and memorabilia for men and women.

Mitchell Modell, chief executive officer of Modell’s Sporting Goods, said he has “transformed” four stores in Manhattan — 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, Herald Square and 86th Street and Third Avenue — into Super Bowl Central, installing huge game-day logos and presentations of licensed merchandise. “There are new fixtures and new product that you can’t find anywhere else,” he said. About 100 stores in the New York area will carry Super Bowl product, he said, but the four in Manhattan will also offer “premium product.”

Modell’s is also planning a lot of activities in its stores for the game, including New York sports writer Mike Lupica interviewing former players about the game, player appearances, street teams, raffle prizes and even a game-day in-store party for the first 200 people to arrive at the store. There will also be a VIP/invitation-only party with Alyssa Milano, the face of the Touch line of sports apparel for women.

Although he declined to say how much merchandise he expects to sell, he said, “We feel like we’re a part of the local fabric of New York. And even though our local teams aren’t in the Super Bowl this year, we still want to be part of the excitement and continue to drive energy.”

Saks Fifth Avenue is also getting into the act.

“For the first time, the Super Bowl will be held in Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship city, and our celebration will be bigger than ever before,” said Tom Ott, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s. “From special merchandise from top designers to charitable in-store events and activations throughout the entire store, Saks will be the go-to luxury destination for Super Bowl [XLVIII].”

The retailer will host four days of events in its flagship from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, and will install two pop-up shops over the weekend: a World of Versace shop with special merchandise, a live customized artist installation and DJ; and a Mizzen+Main shop, which will feature a men’s wear line designed specifically for athletes. Saks will also offer a sneak peek at some spring designer sneakers from Bally, Dsquared2, Lanvin and Zanotti.

Additionally, the retailer is partnering with the Off the Field Players’ Wives Association to host a cocktail reception for the charity on Jan. 30 and its 13th-annual Game Day Charity Fashion Show the next day. Off the Field is a charitable organization comprised of wives of active and retired NFL players whose work supports children, women and families in need. This year’s event will benefit women’s shelters in New York City.

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