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Sunday, September 30
Updated: October 1, 6:53 PM ET
 
Super Bowl could provide boon for New York

By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- On Sunday, New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer proposed that Super Bowl XXXV could be held at Giants Stadium on Feb. 3.

Schumer said that it would not only be a great show of support, but would also provide a great economic boost to New York City which is still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Schumer said a Super Bowl could be worth $400 million to the city.That estimate, according his Schumer's spokesperson Bradley Tusk, was based on research group analysis and previously published estimates of the Super Bowl's economic impact on host cities.

In January 1999, when Super Bowl XXXIII was held in Miami, the game's local financial impact was estimated at $396 million. Some 110,700 visitors spent an average of $400.03 per day over a 4.52-day average visit, according to Sports Management Research Institute. Tusk said an additional $4 million would not be a stretch "since it's New York."

"There has been very little spending and it's not gotten better," Tusk said. "We think that if we can pull off a Super Bowl, people will get over their fear of coming here and there will be a lot of secondary dollars to be made down the road."

Previously, many sports economists have questioned the accuracy of such lofty figures. What is often missing from the equation is calculating the Super Bowl's economic impact in comparison to an average weekend in the host city. "For large events like the Super Bowl, Olympics or World Series, most of the people who come to town are taking up hotel space that would be filled anyway if that event wasn't there," sports economist Andrew Zimbalist said Monday.

"There's substitution involved," Zimbalist said. "For the most part, Super Bowls are played in warm weather climates in January, so if the Super Bowl wasn't there, the rooms would still be filled with tourists."

But Zimbalist said New York is different since early February is not a popular time for tourists to visit New York. So it is possible, Zimbalist said, that the Super Bowl " could have a real (financial) impact" on New York's economy. "If the NFL wants to know how it can help, the answer is simple: move this year's Super Bowl to New York," Schumer said in a statement released Sunday.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Sunday that New York is "one of the options."

"It would be one way to help rebuild the city," Tagliabue said. "But there would also be logistical problems and security problems. It's one of many ideas under consideration."

Tagliabue is still negotiating with the National Association of Auto Dealers, trying to switch dates with the group, which has reservations to occupy the Superdome in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

The Super Bowl had been scheduled for New Orleans on Jan. 27, but the NFL wants to delay the playoffs a week because of the week it took off after the attacks in New York and Washington. The NFL also is looking at other cities, including Los Angeles, Tampa and Miami for Feb. 3.

In the statement, Schumer cites the report of the city's convention and visitors bureau and the New York City Central Labor Council which estimates that New York City hotels have lost an estimated $6 million to $10 million in room revenues per day since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack that leveled the World Trade Center. Average occupancy of the area's hotels is at 40 to 45 percent of capacity, down from 89.5 percent in September 2000. New York City restaurants also are believed to be losing an estimated $20 million each day.

Tusk said Schumer plans to begin calling every NFL team owner over the next few days, as well as Super Bowl sponsors, to ask for their support in moving the game to New York.

"New York in January is a different situation," Zimbalist said. "New York in January 2002 is even more different, because if there are not more terrorist attacks, it can help in a gradual recovery."

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.




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