Area officials seek hotel, venue commitments for Super Bowl
By Kristen Fidh
Awaiting a Sept. 17 final decision by the National Football League that could secure the 2007 Super Bowl for South Florida, area officials are trying to establish hotel and venue commitments and convince the league that the region can cater to the game's clientele.
Barry Moskowitz, associate vice president of sales for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the NFL will need 13,000 hotel rooms in Miami-Dade County and 1,000 in Palm Beach County. Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Broward County will offer 7,000 rooms for the NFL.
Mr. Moskowitz and bureau president William Talbert met with NFL owners last week to pitch a proposal that showcased Miami's hotel and entertainment package.
"As of now, we are shy a couple thousand outstanding commitments," Mr. Moskowitz said. "We are evaluating our options and meeting with the properties previously committed in hopes that they will increase their number of sleeping rooms."
The bureau also needs to secure a list of venues that could hold more than 5,000 people for the NFL commissioners' party, the league's headquarters, participating teams and the media, said Mr. Moskowitz.
If Miami gets the game, probably at Pro Player Stadium, it would be the fourth time since 1999 that it has been played in Florida.
"The Super Bowl attracts thousands of people of all walks of life, and we need to prove that we can cater to all of them," Mr. Moskowitz said. "In proving we are a five-star destination, we are putting together a proposal that Miami offers the best combination of high-end properties, amount of suites, quantity of quality restaurants and world-renowned spas. To show them we are a perfect destination for families, we are going to push the new Performing Arts Center, the new Parrot Jungle, the science museum and planetarium, all our art museums and, of course, the beaches. It's the total package we are selling."
The private sector would cover half the cost of activities surrounding the game, Mr. Talbert said. Miami-Dade County would provide 50 percent, Broward County 40 percent and Palm Beach County 10 percent of the public funds. He said the tri-county commission passed a funding resolution for future Super Bowls in 1990 after the game was played in Miami in 1989.
"It is the largest single-day event in the world, and it is a very important event for us to host," Mr. Talbert said.
Miami has been home to eight Super Bowls, one fewer than New Orleans. No state has been host to more games than Florida, which would have its 12th game if it comes to Miami in 2007. The first Super Bowl was played in 1967.
"When the rest of the country is freezing, South Florida shines," said Mr. Moskowitz. "And we have to prove that (to the NFL owners) so we can reap some of the economic benefits that come along with hosting the game."
Kathleen Davis of the Sports Management Research Institute said the Super Bowl brought approximately $400 million to South Florida in 1999.
"The South Florida vicinity is so interconnected in the way we do business," Ms. Davis said. "Most will fly into Fort Lauderdale, so the city will pick up those taxes. People will travel down and stay in Miami, Key Biscayne or the beaches. They will visit the (Florida) Keys. They will eat in Broward and Palm Beach. The great thing about hosting the event is that it will put us on the map nationally and internationally."
About 89% of Super Bowl attendees are tourists, she said. "Of all the events in the country, the Super Bowl has the capability to generate the most out-of-region visitors, and game-goers are usually high consumers since they can afford to attend the event."
Pro Player Stadium could earn hundreds of thousands from concessions, merchandise, catering parties and executive suites. The facility currently generates revenue from leases with the Miami Dolphins of the NFL and the Florida Marlins baseball team as well as parking and concessions and special events.
The stadium and the Dolphins are owned by Fort Lauderdale businessman H. Wayne Huizenga.
No money comes from the naming rights because former sports-apparel company Pro Player is defunct. Stadium executives are discussing naming rights with local companies, said Jim Ross, the stadium's vice president of sales and marketing. He also said the stadium's name is a "non-issue" during the Super Bowl negotiations.