Broadway will catch football fever in 2014. Times Square from 33rd to 44th Streets will be known as “Super Bowl Boulevard” and a gridiron-themed party will be held there on Feb. 2 of next year when the final game of the National Football League’s season is played at the MetLife Stadium in nearby East Rutherford, NJ.
For four days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII, there will be free events including the display of the Vince Lombardi trophy. “Everybody knows New York as the Big Apple,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference to announce the event. “Twelve months from now, it will be the big pigskin as well.
“This city depends on tourism, it depends on people having good feelings about New York, to come here to get an education, medical care, to start a business, to work, to entertain themselves and expand their minds, and the Super Bowl is another one,” Bloomberg went on to say. “We know how to handle big events and this one will go off as a textbook example of what you should do.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Jonathan Tisch, and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson were also on hand at the conference. “The Super Bowl is not just a game anymore,” said Goodell, “It’s a week of events.”
The mayor went on to say he expects that playing host to the most important football game of the year to boost Gotham tourism, shattering the record of an estimated 52 million visitors in 2012. According to a study co-authored by Victor Matheson, economics professor at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., from 1970 to 2001, the host city of the Bowl has seen an average gain of $92 million in income.