Business for vendors hawking merchandise for Sunday’s NFL championship game, to state it mildly, is booming.
An inexpensive Super Bowl hotel room will set you back well over $100 per night, game tickets go for $200 at face value and the trendy apparel fans love to buy for themselves as well as friends and relatives back home can cost much more.
Tourism officials estimate that about 100,000 visitors will converge on South Florida this week and spend more than $700 per person for a four-day stay.
Depending on one’s budget, as little as 99 cents of that might be targeted for souvenirs like bumper stickers or commemorative buttons. With a fat wallet, a game-day outfit featuring a leather Super Bowl jacket and the bestselling sweat shirt and hat of the week can be purchased for $405.
“We have some people who’ll come in and pick up a program for $10 and that’s all they’re going to spend,” said Chuck Thomas, a vendor for Kentucky-based All Pro Championship, which contracts to sell merchandise in the lobbies of hotels in Super Bowl host cities.
The average purchase, though, is about $50 per customer. Thomas had one person stop by a stand at the 49ers team hotel and drop $700 for hats, golf shirts and other items.
Key chains range from $1.99 to $7.99 and T-shirts run from $12.99 to $44.99 through vendors on the beach, at Joe Robbie Stadium and other locations around the city.
Leather jackets begin at $300, heavy windbreakers are $100 and lightweight jackets go for $65. The top selling hat is a burgundy and white “dueling cap” that has the helmets of the participating teams embroidered on the front. It’s yours for $25.99.
Learned his lesson
Chargers defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger, 68, was an assistant coach with the Colts when they were upset by the Jets in Super Bowl III.
“Being favored wasn’t a hindrance, as I remember,” Arnsparger said. “We just didn’t play well after we got in the game. I guess we learned it’s common sense that the game is played on the field and it’s what you do out there, not what somebody else is talking about.
“We knew (Joe) Namath was a very capable quarterback, and that they had the good running game with (Matt) Snell. And they did both things well in that game. We realized the game would be difficult, but maybe we didn’t realize it enough.”
Throwing at Deion
Chargers offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen made no secret of the fact that they plan to attack San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deion Sanders.
“The Bears didn’t go after him,” said Friedgen. “Dallas did, and they had some success. If you don’t go after him, you’re taking away a third of the field. We plan on stretching it.
“Deion is human. I’ve seen him make some truly great plays, but he also gets away with murder back there. When he gets beat, he chops, holds and the refs don’t call it.”
Do it for Rickey
When the 49ers signed Rickey Jackson to a $1 million contract, there was a catch. He was signed for the $162,000 minimum with the other $838,000 as a bonus if the team got to the Super Bowl. That way, it wouldn’t count under this year’s salary cap.
The former New Orleans Saints linebacker said that bonus was an incentive for the team.
“The offensive line really talked about it all year,” he said. “Coming down the stretch, all they talked about was, ‘We’ve got to get this Super Bowl for Rickey Jackson.”’
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.