Saturday, June 30, 2012

NFL Experience could join Super Bowl in New Jersey

New Jersey is already hosting the 2014 Super Bowl, but could also be home to the "NFL Experience," the interactive family attraction that has become a major draw during the Super Bowl festivities.

While Super Bowl XLVIII is being billed as a "New York Super Bowl," the fact remains that the game will be played in the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium— comfortably situated in the swamps of Jersey.  Now, it looks like the  Garden State may take over most of the weeklong activities leading up to the big game.

It's sort of like the Tebow-Sanchez rivalry of states.

At a meeting of 250 business and community leaders Friday, Rich Petriccione, senior vice president of philanthropy and community relations for the Meadowlands Super Bowl Host Committee— whew, that's some title— said that the Javits Center in Manhattan originally was expected  to be home to the NFL Experience.

But Petriccione said the league later found out Javits was already booked for annual conventions in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 2,1014 Super Bowl game.

"So we're hoping to change the paradigm— maybe move the NFL Experience to New Jersey," he said at a luncheon in Hackensack.  "Or we could have the NFL Experience moving around, in Long Island in Westchester, in different boroughs [of NYC], and obviously different counties out there.  Stay tuned for that."

Petricionne said the group has looked at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City— among other places.  Maybe they can finally get some use of that empty $3.7 million headache— formerly known as the Xanadu Mall— sitting right next to MetLife Stadium now.

At this year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the NFL Experience took up 500,000 square feet at the Indiana Convention Center and drew over a quarter million visitors— most who weren't even going to the game.

The league-sponsored event is a way for fans near the Super Bowl site to feel like a part of the game since most of the tickets go to NFL sponsors, media and insiders.

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