The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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January 31, 2014

Owners renting out homes for Super Bowl find few takers

ALLENWOOD — By Craig Giammona

Bloomberg News

NEW YORK — Thomas Knight saw a chance to make some extra money by renting out his apartment in Brooklyn for Super Bowl weekend, asking $300 a night. Just days before the game, he hadn't gotten a single call.

"I'm not too hopeful," said Knight, 28, who listed the one-bedroom unit in Williamsburg on Airbnb about three weeks ago, after making plans for a ski trip. "If someone was going to come, I think they already found a place."

The Super Bowl has turned out to be a disappointment for many New York and New Jersey residents who sought to profit from football fans swarming the area by offering homes for rent. They're getting few takers, with frigid temperatures deterring travelers and plenty of hotel rooms still available in Manhattan and across the Hudson River near MetLife Stadium, where the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will play in three days.

Flight demand for the Super Bowl is down 20 percent from last year, when the NFL championship game was played at the Superdome in New Orleans, according to vacation-planning website Hopper.com.

The private renters are competing with hotel prices that have been dropping as the game draws closer. As of 9 a.m. Thursday, nightly room rates in the "stadium area" of New Jersey, including towns such as East Rutherford and Secaucus, averaged $181 for Super Bowl weekend — a 53 percent plunge from last week, according to Orbitz Worldwide Inc.'s "Big Game 2014" travel tool, which updates price information every hour.

In Manhattan, the average price for a room was $268 a night, down 18 percent from last week, Orbitz data show. A search on Orbitz.com turned up 307 out of 449 hotels with empty rooms for Friday through Feb. 3.

"The room capacity in New York is so much larger than we've seen in other host cities," said Bobby Bowers, senior vice president of STR, a travel-research firm based in Hendersonville, Tenn. "When you have the Super Bowl in New Orleans or Miami or some other place like that, it's like the event is almost bigger than the venue, and here it's the opposite of that."

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