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Despite the NFL Players Association canceling the VIP party and other activities during its biggest weekend of the year due to the continuing pandemic, Super Bowl LVI still marks a major revival of in-person events, concerts and celebrations in Los Angeles. With the L.A. Rams set to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals on Feb. 13 at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, game day and its surrounding festivities will bring an estimated 150,000 visitors to L.A. and generate up to $477 million in revenue, according to a report by research firm Micronomics.
Calling it “a watershed moment,” Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board president and CEO Adam Burke tells The Hollywood Reporter, “This is such a fitting milestone in our comeback story, because L.A. was host to the very first Super Bowl in 1967 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.”
Los Angeles added 2,100 hotel rooms in 2021, says Burke. And the majority of L.A.-area hotels are booked for Super Bowl weekend, with a $445 average rate, the second-highest in Super Bowl history, per hospitality analytics firm STR. A spokesperson for The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air tells THR that both properties “are sold out at 100 percent from Thursday through Sunday, with average room rates exceeding $2,000.”
For many party planners and catering outfits, the weekend represents a welcome return of business and bookings after weeks of omicron-related cancellations. “I am encouraged that we might be returning more toward normal business, but I’m still a little gun-shy,” says Craig Susser of Craig’s restaurant, who is catering several Super Bowl events that he describes as outdoors and not “that big.”
Nicole Pollard Bayme, CEO of global styling firm LaLaLuxe, predicts a flurry of luxury shopping this weekend as guests plan to dress for the occasion. She adds that one of her clients is accessorizing her game day look with a $75,000 blue and yellow Hermès Birkin bag.
Prices have soared for Super Bowl tickets on the secondary market, with the cheapest ticket available, about two weeks before game day, costing $5,300. And spots in nearby parking lots are being offered on StubHub, priced from hundreds of dollars up to $5,000 for a space.
Traffic is expected to be beyond snarled, with SoFi Stadium offering four shuttle services for fans who park off-site.
For the past seven months, Sammy Sahakyan, co-founder and CEO of Platinum Transportation Group, has been booking luxury cars for players, their families and friends, performing artists, executives and celebrities for up to two weeks around the Super Bowl. Since SoFi is not yet equipped for helicopter landings, Sahakyan says that many of his clients are turning to his “top-of-the-line motorcade services, normally four armed security officers on motorcycles with a luxury SUV or Mercedes Sprinter van at $1,000 to $1,200 per hour” to help navigate traffic — as many cars move out of the way of motorcades.
For a pre-game stopover, Helen’s Wines at Jon & Vinny’s Slauson will offer wine flights that highlight local vineyards (3 pours for $25-$30; 5 pours for $35) beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. No reservations are required and bottles can be purchased to go, complete with guided tasting notes, a wine key, and cups. The company is fully booked with catering jobs, offering items such as a $55 football-shaped double chocolate cake.
Stacey Escudero, a spokesperson for Legends, which operates hospitality and merchandise at SoFi Stadium, says that on game day they expect to sell 9,000 pizzas, 8,000 cheeseburgers, and (in the suites) 1,000 pounds of lobster salad, 20,000 taquitos and 1,000 pounds of pork belly with 3,600 soy-dipped eggs. Suites can add a private bartender for $300 and supplement the included menu with food and beverages such as a $230 & Sons Chocolate Collection or reserve wines, from $900 to $3,000 for Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon.
Former Quintessentially executives Sonam Raman and Justin Ballenger co-founded the global, Beverly Hills-based ALTA Concierge eight months ago to cater to the one percent. Annual memberships range from $48,000 to $65,000 to tap into A-list access. For the Super Bowl, that means $1.5 million suites or $56,000 front row seats with post-game field passes and tables at H.wood Group & Revolve’s “Homecoming Weekend” parties with Justin Bieber, Drake and Marshmello from $20,000 to $120,000.
“We had five kids coming in last minute,” says Raman, “but were able to get them game tickets, a presidential hotel suite, normally $2,000 a night, for $8,000 a night, plus $40,000 in club table bookings and two chauffeured Escalades [at] $3,565 a day, and security — up to $2,500 a night for each of them.”
Continues Raman, “Just to get around and do things, not even in a lavish matter, just in an okay manner, costs $25,000-$30,000 with hotel, security and a chauffeured vehicle. We’ve had to lock in slots at LAX because there are so many private jets coming in back to back that there just isn’t any space available at certain times.”
Ballenger adds, “In the last few weeks, chartered jet rates have spiked. I have someone coming from Dallas for $70,000 one way, when a round-trip on a really good jet is usually $45,000 to $50,000. Exotic car rentals are also inflated. Another client has been asking for a Rolls-Royce Cullinan and there were quotes of $3,800 to $4,000 a day.”
With commute times to the stadium expected to be lengthy, another ALTA client has tricked out his Mercedes Executive Sprinter van —which already comes with televisions, work space, a bar, and recliner chairs — to be as comfortable as possible.
Brian Wilder, executive vice president of Endeavor’s On Location, the NFL’s official hospitality partner that provides all-inclusive packages or a la carte Super Bowl experiences at a wide variety of levels and price ranges, says, “Parking on Sunday is at a premium and is going to be extremely difficult. We’ve got a parking lot reserved, so our Elite buyers can park directly beside the perimeter, which is parking as good as an NFL owner would have!”
The company’s On The Fifty packages (starting at $35,000 or from $75,000 for a weekend experience) come with prime seats in the first two rows on the 50 yard line. Amenities include fast-pass access into the stadium; Wolfgang Puck catering at a pre-party; a private performance by The Black Crowes; an ambassador to handle shopping; post-game field access; personal meet-and-greets with musical performers; photo opps; and a post-game party at YouTube Theater. Throughout the weekend, private events and excursions feature NFL Legends such as Troy Aikman, Marcus Allen, Eric Dickerson and Joe Theismann and a peek at the Lombardi Trophy. Guests are invited to an exclusive gifting suite and entertainment lounge in downtown L.A. while elite guests have VIP access to more perks including the Super Bowl Music Fest and an exclusive, limited-edition gift from Tiffany & Co.
A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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