"Superbowl Boulevard" in Times Square is just one way that the city is reaching out to people coming for the big game. Getty Images
Nice try, Airbnb, but New York is just too good at this hosting thing.
The Super Bowl is fast approaching, and the enterprising residents of New York City and northern New Jersey have dollar signs in their eyes.
The Seattle vs. Denver matchup means that two rabid fan bases from far-flung cities are preparing to descend on the New York metropolitan area — a financial best-case scenario. The long journey means that Seahawks and Broncos fans are more likely to make the most of their trip, staying longer and dropping more money on accommodations, restaurants, and sight-seeing than New Englanders would have if the Patriots had made it.
With sites like Airbnb, Craigslist, EventHomes and Super Bowl Rentalz making it easy for people to list their apartments or houses for short-term rental, some residents are asking for hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars a night.
But they may be aiming a bit high — especially the New Jerseyans, despite their proximity to the main event.
Gail Schoenberg, a resident of Rutherford, N.J., listed her house on Craigslist for $2,500 a night and has yet to get any response.
“Maybe it’s too pricey, but we kind of looked at what other people were charging and it was about that,” she said. “We’re thinking of putting it on Airbnb, which somebody suggested. They told me ‘Craigslist is passé now, you have to put it on Airbnb!’”
She is considering lowering the price in an effort to compete with Manhattan rentals.
“I feel like everyone is staying in New York,” she said. “But Rutherford is the next town over, we’re literally four or five miles from the stadium.”
According to Goviva president Robert Tuchman, who arranges event packages for big companies, proximity means next to nothing in this game.
“Yeah, that’s just not happening,” Tuchman said. “The game is only a few hours on Sunday. New York is a big draw on its own. People are coming out from Seattle for four or five days. Who wants to spend that in New Jersey?”
These hopeful renters are relying on a false precedent, he says: New York City isn’t Indianapolis or New Orleans, where the relatively low number of available hotel rooms caused rates to skyrocket to many times the average price over the last couple of Super Bowl weekends. Attendees of the big game snapped up nearly every available room in the respective city centers.
With 83,000 seats, MetLife Stadium has a significantly higher capacity than New Orleans’s Superdome (72,000) or Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium (62,000), so more people will be attending this year’s Super Bowl than in years past. Even so, Manhattan is more equipped to absorb that kind of crush.
With just a few days left before kickoff, vacancies are still readily available in Manhattan and New Jersey — and while prices are steeper than usual, relatively speaking, they’re nothing compared to previous Super Bowls. An Orbitz search on Wednesday turned up dozens of results in the range of $250 to $400 a night.
“I got an email this morning from the Ritz Carlton saying that they have lot of room left in both of their locations in the city,” Tuchman said. “People aren’t going to be paying ridiculous rates on those other sites when there’s so much available. There’s just too much inventory — which is a good thing for the Super Bowl.”