Gridiron gridlock: Times Square to be transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard
(CNN) – When it comes to football, the New York-New Jersey divide is a long and complicated one.
Both New York-branded NFL teams — the Jets and the Giants — share fans from across the tri-state area, blurring state lines and loyalties.
And both teams play at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, where the Super Bowl will be held February 2.
The official Super Bowl Host Committee estimates the game will bring in between $550 and $600 million in revenue to New York and New Jersey.
In addition to the influx of Super Bowl-goers eating and staying in the region, there will be concerts, meet-and-greet events with the players and even a toboggan set up smack in the middle of Times Square.
But James Cassella, the mayor of East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the game will be played, said it’s unlikely his town will cash in much.
“I’m hoping that we at least break even,” said Cassella, who has been mayor of the town of 9,000 for 19 years.
Tax revenue from the town’s five hotels will provide a slight bump for East Rutherford, but Cassella is skeptical that it will reap many more benefits.
Game-day transportation is set up so visitors must enter MetLife Stadium by bus or train. Cassella said he doubts local businesses will see significant gains from spectators. The town also has had to ramp up its police presence for the week.
“This has already cost us,” he said, adding that even though the event is in New Jersey, “It’s a New York event.”
“People (of East Rutherford) are proud to say there will be 150 million people watching and looking at East Rutherford, even though all the outside shots will be of New York City,” Cassella said.
The NFL dismisses the theory that the Super Bowl is a New York-centric event.
“There are more activities in New Jersey than New York,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
The players are staying in Jersey City and all their media appearances and training will be held in the state.
Still, the issue is sensitive for some.
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey corrected one of his Twitter followers who tweeted the incorrect location of the game.
“NO! The Super Bowl is in New Jersey,” he responded.
At a press conference on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey scoffed at the NFL’s official Super Bowl program cover, which shows the Vince Lombardi trophy with New York as its backdrop. A small sliver of New Jersey can be seen in the background.
“For all of those who are geographically challenged, welcome to New Jersey, welcome to the home of Super Bowl XLVIII,” he said.
The so-called Super Bowl Boulevard will be across the Hudson River from MetLife Stadium, in midtown Manhattan. Parts of Manhattan, including the stretch of Broadway from 34th to 47th streets, will be closed to traffic from January 26 through February 2 to make room for a toboggan run, a concert stage and an exhibit featuring the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the Super Bowl is “hugely important” for New York and he believes the event will be “an extraordinary moment for New York City.”
De Blasio will be involved in Super Bowl festivities in some capacity, although it’s unclear whether he will attend the game, said Marti Adams, chief spokesperson for the mayor.
Cassella, East Rutherford’s mayor, said he has not been invited to the game. He plans to attend a community tailgating party and then watch from home.
“I’ll be sitting in my recliner,” he said, “enjoying the game.”