Super Bowl 2014 May Displace Trade Shows at Javits

DANICA TORMOHLEN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
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New York, NY – In October, the NFL set the date for the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city for Feb. 2, 2014 at the MetLife Stadium at the New Jersey Meadowlands. Since then, New York and New Jersey have been working behind the scenes to figure out where to house all of the Super Bowl-related events, including the NFL Experience, volunteer headquarters, and the media center. Sources involved in the discussions told Trade Show Executive that shows at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during late January and early February 2014 may be displaced to make room for these events.

The weeklong NFL Experience typically features an interactive theme park that includes free football clinics, autograph sessions, other family attractions and a large retail store. One source told Trade Show Executive that the NFL requires 1 million square feet of outdoor space and 800,000 square feet of indoor space for the event, when it is held in a warm weather destination.

“During the bid process, the Meadowlands Expo Center and Javits were listed among others as possible venues for events during the Super Bowl,” said Judy Ross, director, Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Final event venue determinations will be made by the NFL as we get closer to our hosting dates.  The NFL Experience is expected to attract a total of 200,000 visitors over the week in Indianapolis in 2012, and we anticipate even more will visit this region.”

In September, Al Kelly, chairman and CEO of the 2014 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee, told North New Jersey.com that “the event probably would be held in Manhattan — with the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center being the most logical site to handle what Kelly expects will be record NFL Experience crowds.” The committee projects the economic benefit to New Jersey and New York will be $550 million.

The 2014 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee and Javits told Trade Show Executive that they had “no comment” on the matter at this time.

Two shows that could be impacted include the New York International Gift Fair® (NYIGF®), scheduled for Feb. 1-7, 2014, which is held annually at Javits, and the International AHR Expo (International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition), scheduled for January 21-23, 2014, which rotates to cities across the country.

“GLM holds executed leases at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for our winter 2014 New York International Gift Fair® (NYIGF),” said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president. “It will be an exciting time in New York and we don’t anticipate any inconvenience for our customers.  We are working closely with Travel Planners (NYIGF’s travel provider) and the NYC hotel community to secure our hotel blocks, ensure a favorable experience for our customers and minimize any business disruption.”

In 2011, the International AHR Expo attracted 40,000 total attendees and 1,938 exhibiting companies covering 350,000 square feet of exhibit space in Las Vegas. International Exposition Company, which produces and manages the show, told Trade Show Executive they had “no knowledge” about the potential displacement.

Can the State Revoke Contracts?

While these trade shows hold leases with the building, there’s speculation that the state may be able to revoke the contracts given the extenuating circumstances. In addition, the availability and pricing of hotel rooms during this time frame is likely to be a major issue.

According to one source, “A large facility in central New Jersey is being looked at for the volunteer headquarters. This is the largest footprint outside New York, which still makes me wonder where NFL Experience will be.” There’s some speculation that the city is encouraging the NFL to use several venues for the event instead of just one.

“We are excited for the NFL’s decision to award NY/NJ with the 2014 Super Bowl —this event will attract thousands of additional visitors, raise the city’s global visibility and generate millions in revenue for the five boroughs,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Co. “At the same time, we must recognize that Javits serves as a home to several, major annual trade shows that have been great clients and partners to New York City.  Several of these shows have long been booked for this same time period, and it is important to support them and encourage their continued use of Javits for years to come — losing them would cost the city billions in the long-term.

“During the bidding process, we advised the leadership of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee that Javits was unavailable and encouraged them to explore more venue options.

Since then, we have continued to encourage the committee to look for ways to re-imagine the NFL Experience — using alternative venues to create a unique atmosphere for the fans.  This would both alleviate the booking conflict among these important events and create a one-of-a-kind Super Bowl celebration only possible in New York City.  We are optimistic that a suitable alternative for the NFL Experience can be found.”

But it’s unclear at this time whether that is realistic or not. Only time will tell if that will be the case. No decisions have been finalized, and the venues will probably not be determined until at least after the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

Reach Dorothy Belshaw at (914) 421-3200 or dbelshaw@glmshows.com; Leslie Burton at (212) 216-2135 or lbuxton@javitscenter.com; George Fertitta at (212) 484-1200 or gfertitta@nycgo.com, Judy Ross at (201) 939-0707, ext. 2943 or jross@meadowlands.org; DeShara Hickman at (201) 559-1534 or dhickman@nynjsuperbowl.com