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What Was the Super Bowl’s Economic Impact? [AUDIO]

The region’s first Super Bowl was expected to bring a half-billion dollars in economic activity to the New Jersey/New York area. But according to local officials and business leaders, it seems that number was far-fetched, and instead, taxpayers should worry what the game cost them.

One could still find vacant, cheap hotel rooms early Sunday less than a mile from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, the site of Super Bowl XLVIII. Per-night prices dropped as the days went by.

An Aerial View Of Super Bowl XLVIII
Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, NJ (John Moore, Getty Images)

The region has tales of economic success related to the big game – local restaurants completely bought out for corporate events, a rental company drowning in dollars from tent rentals, a cleaning service getting the contract to maintain Super Bowl Boulevard in New York City – but the consensus is business could have been better.

Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, said it was “unfair” for estimates to call for a 500-to-600 million dollar economic boom.

“No one knew what to expect. It’s the first time you’re doing the Super Bowl up in this area,” said Halvorsen.

However, any consumer activity at the end of January and early February is a bonus for the local economy, noted East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella.

“This time of year is not a busy time for hotels and restaurants,” Cassella said.

Perhaps the state can redeem residual effects from Super Bowl XLVIII. The national television spotlight was on New Jersey Sunday night, and the Garden State was receiving the attention officials feel it was deprived of leading up to the game.

“The Meadowlands and New Jersey assets will be improved greatly because of this,” said Jim Kirkos, CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce. “And that’s not going to show up in the economic impact research data that will be produced. When people realize how close we are to New York City, it will help us in the future.”

Ever since the region learned it would be hosting the NFL championship game, though, a major concern among local mayors wasn’t the money coming in, but the money going out. Supplying security and fire protection for the event isn’t cheap, and those extra costs end up hitting New Jersey taxpayers.

“It’s a burden. We’re going to be spending a lot of money on police overtime,” said Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, who claims he voiced his concerns to the NFL, but “they fell on deaf ears.”

Mayor Cassella expressed similar feelings about the league.

“They’re feeling is that you should just be honored that the game is here,” he said. “Sometimes I think the NFL looks for ways that you don’t make money. They want to keep everything for themselves.”

Attempts to get a response from the league went unanswered.

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