No, the new $1.6 billion Meadowlands Stadium isn’t in New York, but it’s close enough that the two professional football teams playing there — originally from New York — still call themselves New Yorkers. It’s also close enough that the rest of us should be delighted that the stadium was chosen earlier this week as the site of the 2014 Super Bowl.
Yes, Feb. 2, 2014 is almost four years away; and football is probably the last thing from any fan’s mind at this time of year, especially with the recent heat wave. But the selection of this site will not only be good for football, it will be tremendous for the state.
This will be the first Super Bowl, since the professional football championship was conceived in 1967, to be played outdoors in a northern climate — in other words, the kind of weather that most people associate with late-season football, weather that can make the game less predictable and thus more interesting. While some decent games have been played in the warm-climate cities usually chosen for the marquee event, weather has almost never been a factor: It’s never been below freezing and the worst precipitation has been rain. That could change on Feb. 2, 2014, or it may not.
But it should be fun to watch in the way that the National Hockey League’s outdoor games on New Year’s Day have become — though perhaps not as much for live spectators if there’s a blizzard or below-zero wind chills. By the same token, the hosts have promised an army of snow shovelers in case of a storm, and heating stations throughout the parking lots, so they’ll be as prepared to deal with elements as is possible — as much, certainly, as the Winter Olympic Games’ hosts generally are.
As for the game’s economic impact on the region, it is estimated to be anywhere from $55 million to 10 times that amount. Certainly some of that money will be spent in New Jersey, but plenty will wind up in New York City, as that’s where the hotels and night life are concentrated. In other words, the state and a lot of people in the hospitality business will reap a bonanza. Too bad it’s not going to be for another three-plus years.