Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
New York has plenty of room at its inns for Super Bowl
Everyone knows how expensive New York City hotel rooms are, but there is a good chance they will be much less costly during the weekend of Super Bowl XLVIII than the going rate in other cities - such as little old Indianapolis two years ago.
That is because even the demands of thousands of Super Bowl visitors and workers are not enough to soak up the massive inventory the city has to offer.
“Without a doubt, as much as everyone thought going out years in advance in purchasing blocs of hotel rooms, there is actually tons of space,’’ said Robert Tuchman, president of Goviva, which arranges packages for companies and individuals around big events. He has worked every Super Bowl since 1997.
“I’ve never seen a Super Bowl in 18 years with this type of vacancy in advance . . . There is plenty of space, and I’m not even talking about having to go into New Jersey, Westchester or Long Island.’’
Tuchman said he found a rate of just over $300 in the Hyatt Times Square, compared to the $1,500 or so rooms in downtown Indianapolis were commanding in 2012 thanks to a dire shortage in that city's core.
As of Tuesday a check of that Hyatt still showed rooms for Jan. 31 through Feb. 3 for $476.10 per night with advance purchase. That obviously is pricy, but in comparison to normal New York rates the markup is below Super Bowl norms.
While the Marriott Marquis in Times Square was asking $899 per night for Super Bowl weekend, a Courtyard Marriott in Chelsea was going for a mere $279 per night.
Asking prices in northern New Jersey are all over the board, with many hotels posting rates well above $300, $400, $500 and more, but there also are bargains to be had in lesser neighborhoods and with lesser brands.
Tuchman said he had to pay $700 to $800 for a Hampton Inn well outside downtown Indy for visitors to that year’s Patriots-Giants game.
Another factor in lessening the pressure on hotel demand this time could be that many of the NFL staffers, celebrities, journalists, party planners and such that must stay over in a smaller city will be able to commute from home as residents of the New York area.
Many hotel rooms were spoken for years ago by entities such as the NFL, including the Sheraton that will serve as the media center. Businessmen such as Tuchman also secured rooms long ago, often paying premiums to make sure the rooms were in hand, and to tell clients where they would be staying.
But latecomers, including fans arriving from Seattle and Denver, should be able to find bargains – relatively speaking, of course.
Regarding the game matchup itself, Tuchman said having the Broncos beat the Patriots was good news for New York-area hotels and restaurants because fans from Denver have a longer trip and thus will spend more time and money here.
“Obviously Denver winning was really good, because they do have a strong fan base and they’ll travel,’’ he said. “Also, if it had been New England a lot of people would have come down just for the day. The only people who would have been benefiting from New England being in were people selling tickets and probably Amtrak.
“Now you have four or five days of getting hotel rooms, spending on meals and buying everything here in New York. That was a real strong win.’’
Tuchman, a “diehard, lifelong Jets fan,” was rooting hard for the 49ers over the Seahawks because his company had a deal with the 49ers to handle all their official and fan travel.
But even setting aside his personal stake, Tuchman said a 49ers victory would have been better for business overall given the market’s size and wealth and the team’s national following.
Still, there is plenty of excitement – and wealth – in the Seattle market, so many visitors will come from there, too. They would be well advised to shop carefully for hotel deals.