Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Becoming A Real Threat to Super Bowl XLVIII

About a month ago a report came out that the NFL was thinking about a contingency plan for the Super Bowl, if the game were snowed out. Now stories are starting to circulate that a storm could hit Super Sunday, which would send the entire event spiraling toward meltdown.

According to the Star Ledger, there is a weather pattern that is starting to develop for next weekend here in New Jersey. Temperatures in Jersey have been Artctic-like for the last week, and those frigid temps are expected to continue throughout next week.

If it does snow on Super Sunday, it could affect when the game is played.

NFL officials have said they need 48 hours to move the entire package: events, shows, pre-game festivities, halftime, and the game to another day if Sunday gets clocked with a snow storm.

That means the Super Bowl could be played between Friday, January 31 and Monday, February 3.

The reason for such concern stems from a storm that hit this area on Tuesday, dumping 13 inches of snow that the Meadowlands crew had to clean up this week.

The NFL could survive if a storm hits on Friday or Saturday, but a major storm on the day of the game would be catestrophic. Why? Because Super Bowl Sunday is an all day event. It starts with pre game shows, broadcasts, fan events, and concerts. And this is all hours before kickoff. If a storm hits on Sunday, these events would have to be either moved or canceled.

The NFL isn't using the IZod Center; Xanadu still has yet to even open its doors. The Prudential Center in Newark, at least 7 miles away from the Meadowlands -- and that is not counting traffic on Route 21 and 3 -- is available for Media Day, and moving the media and concerts there could be cumbersome.

As for the game, people arrive for the Super Bowl extra early, and will want to sit in their seats hours before the game starts. The people who attend Super Bowls are not exactly die-hard football fans who don't care about weather. A real cold snap with snow will drive people away -- even for a Super Bowl.

So moving the game to either Saturday night or Monday night become a possibility. Yet, even that could be a disaster. Super Bowl Sunday is a television ratings magnetic. The entire sports world doesn't even play the Sunday of the Super Bowl.

If the game were moved to Saturday night, it would have no choice but to compete with the NBA, NHL, and college basketball. People who have tickets to those events, are not going to give up their tickets for a chance to sit on the coach to watch the Big Game a day early.

A Super Bowl move to Saturday will create a dip in its ratings, and possibly a loss in advertising revenue.

Right now, there is a 30% chance of snow for Sunday, so the likelihood that the game gets snowed out is still very remote. But just the thought of the game moving to another day would be a total failure for the NFL, New York and New Jersey. The prospects of other cold weather cities getting a Super Bowl would automatically go down the drain.

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