So one thing I neglected to talk about in last month’s Sports on Earth column about the economic impact of the Super Bowl was the idea that hosting the Big Game™ could put your city on the map as a tourist destination. And now I’m sorry I left that out, because who can put a price on the publicity value of this?
“Jersey sucks!” they had shouted in unison while stuck for 90 minutes in a Secaucus stairwell, some with only their Seattle Skittles to sustain them, dour demeanors in contrast with the bright sherbet colors of Bronco orange and Seahawk lime. “Train! Train! Train!”
After the winner’s celebration – Seattle defeated Denver, 43-8 – an announcement was made over the public address system that anyone planning to take the train “should remain in the stadium due to the congestion on the platforms.”
To put a capper on it, angry fans blamed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the transit nightmare, because sure, why not?
In related news, Salon’s Alex Pareene has written an article that I’ve always wanted to write, namely that since the Super Bowl doesn’t actually bring any benefits to host cities (aside from being able to point and laugh at other people being trapped at Secaucus Junction instead of you), and the NFL really only cares about being able to force fans to buy their official products, the league should just “build a giant arena somewhere in the desert outside Vegas, or maybe southern California somewhere, and just make it the permanent home of the Super Bowl.” Pareene continues:
The league can build its little Super Bowl village with its NFL Experience stuff, and keep it up all year, a whole little town dedicated to the majesty of football. All of this crap currently clogging Broadwaycould have a permanent, lucrative home! It would be a football theme park for most of the year, and then for one week it would be a mecca of stupid, bloated NFL excess. The arena would be state-of-the-art, indoors and climate-controlled, with a zillion luxury boxes and maybe a couple of normal seats for “regular” “fans.” Every single aspect of the entire experience could be controlled as minutely as Disney’s imagineers control Disneyland. Everyone wins, besides the people attending the game and various players with catastrophic head trauma.
It’s actually an excellent idea, except for the part where it would prevent individual NFL teams from trying to hold up their home towns for new stadium money by holding out the carrot of hosting a Super Bowl someday. Other than that, though, it could totally work, and in fact shouldn’t be limited to—
This is also how to fix the Olympics.