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New Jersey Banking On Tourism For Super Bowl 2014

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NEW JERSEY SUPERBOWL
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NEWARK, N.J. — New Jersey is looking ahead to 2014, when it will play host to football's biggest game.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno joined officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and representatives from the Marriott Hotel at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday to announce a multimillion-dollar renovation of the hotel as the first step in a wider strategy to attract tourists to the state for a Super Bowl still three years away.

Under the terms of the agreement, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., which owns the Marriott, has agreed to invest $164 million to upgrade and expand it. The company, based in Bethesda, Md., says it will spend $34 million of that before the 2014 Super Bowl on improvements to the hotel, which is on airport grounds. The private investments are in addition to minimum annual guaranteed revenue the Port Authority receives from the hotel's airport lease. In exchange, the Port Authority, which runs the region's major airports, will extend that lease for 40 years.

The Port Authority estimates the renovation project will create more than 250 jobs – from construction to hotel staff positions – and generate $60 million in economic activity for New Jersey. Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, who described Newark Airport as "the gateway to Super Bowl 2014," said public-private partnerships such as the hotel renovation and other infrastructure improvements at the airport will reap benefits long after the game.

"It will generate new jobs, robust economic activity and attract new tourism interest for many years to come," he said.

The renovation of the 591-room hotel is only one part of a wider strategy to encourage visitors to patronize businesses in towns and cities near the New Meadowlands Stadium, in East Rutherford, where the Super Bowl will be held, Guadagno said.

Partnerships with mayors of several cities are in the works, Guadagno said, as well as plans to help visitors travel to different venues or connect to public transportation. The Marriott Hotel is about 20 miles from the stadium. A collaboration with Newark Mayor Cory Booker would attract visitors to his city's Ironbound restaurant district, Guadagno said.

"As we work to provide the pro-business environment to make New Jersey the right place to do business, this type of collaboration between the private and public sectors is a great win for the state," Guadagno said.

A study commissioned by the owners of the New York Jets and New York Giants football teams as part of their bid to host the Super Bowl estimated the game could bring as much as $550 million to the New York-New Jersey region. Some sports marketing and economic experts say such figures can vary widely and several factors – from which teams make the final and how far their fans must travel, to the wide availability of public transportation – can affect how much money visitors spend.

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