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Super Bowl

Too Cold for a Super Bowl?

Snow-covered seats at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, New York

Photograph by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images

Snow-covered seats at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, New York

According to the Weather Channel, it feels like 3 degrees Fahrenheit in East Rutherford, N.J., today. According to an informal Twitter survey:

So who’s up for sitting in the open air at Met Life Stadium for four hours? If the weather is like this next year around this time, that will be the question for NFL fans holding Super Bowl tickets. The Feb. 2, 2014, Super Bowl at the new home of the New York Giants and Jets will be the first played outdoors in a cold-weather city. When the NFL’s 32 owners selected New Jersey in 2010, they decided to suspend a league rule that requires the host city to have an average temperature of 50 degrees or warmer for the time of year or climate control (read: a roof) at its stadium. The Met Life bid, according to the New York Times, sought to make a virtue of the weather, saying that the game would ”take on the ‘old school’ feel of the great outdoor contests of the past.” It also outlined plans for hand warmers, seat warmers, an 800-person snow shovel brigade, and, possibly, fire pits in the parking lot. Are you ready for some open-flame tailgating?

The NFL is betting yes. “Bring it on,” says league spokesman Brian McCarthy. “Football games have been played in all sorts of weather throughout our history.” That kind of attitude is probably enough for these fans. And barring downright apocalyptic cold, the corporate swells who flock to the Super Bowl will likely don their Moncler coats and endure. The larger impact would be on team owners in other cold-weather cities hoping that 2014 is the beginning of a trend. If next year’s Super Bowl is played in weather like New York’s today, and it puts a damper on the party, no one will feel the chill more than Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Boudway is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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