Super Bowl XLIV is back in Miami after three years, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the same old, same old. In an attempt to break with tradition, Super Bowl sponsors and most of the journalists covering the game will be staying in Fort Lauderdale, 18 miles north of the stadium, rather than in Miami.
Frank Supovitz, senior vice president for events at the National Football League, says the move to the north “was a function of us just having been in South Florida three years ago” — when the 2007 Super Bowl was held in the same stadium. According to Supovitz, the N.F.L. “wanted to present a Super Bowl that was new and fresh and looked different.”
We’d say the recent building boom that has transformed Fort Lauderdale had a lot to do with it. The midcentury hotels that once skirted the ocean on the A1A are now replaced by enormous resort hotels such as the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale (formerly known as St. Regis), and the W Fort Lauderdale.
And the title of N.F.L. headquarters hotel goes to (drum roll, please): The Westin Beach Resort Fort Lauderdale. Along with its many amenities including a spa, gym, and ocean-view Starbucks, it also has a 25,000-square-foot conference center. For at least two weeks before the game, that conference center will house temporary N.F.L. offices, with the league also booking other hotels in the area to give it the campus feel.
The league also decided to put the Super Bowl media center in the Broward County Convention Center, also in Fort Lauderdale. Once that decision was made, “we needed to make sure we had enough hotel rooms for the 4,000 or so accredited media who are there,” Mr. Supovitz said.
The league also decided to secure one hotel for each team: the Harbor Beach Marriott for the A.F.C. Champion and the Intercontinental in downtown Miami for the N.F.C. Champion. A “spillover hotel,” as Supovitz calls it, is also needed since the football players like to bring friends and family.
“America’s most watched event” could not have come at a better time for Fort Lauderdale, and South Florida in general.
“There is no question that we’ve never needed a Super Bowl as badly as we need this one,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.
So, are you ready for some football?