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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- John Mara's voice was raspy and fading the day after the New York Giants and New York Jets ownership groups secured the NFL's first Super Bowl held in an open-air, cold-weather locale.
But the "heavy lifting," as Mara says, is only just beginning. The Giants and Jets leadership made history Tuesday. Now they must make money -- $40 million-plus, to be exact.
The New York-New Jersey Super Bowl bid committee is now the Super Bowl XLVIII host committee, and its chief responsibility right now is to raise $40 million for the event.
Forget about potential snow storms. Money now is the main concern.
"That is our single biggest challenge," Mark Lamping, president and CEO of the new Meadowlands, said at a Wednesday news conference to welcome home the successful Super Bowl bid.
"We don't have a lot of worries about the weather, although that's something people want to talk about. We don't have worries about what the quality of the venues are going to be, how people are going to get around. The thing that we're really focused on is, how do we go about raising money that we need to raise?"
|Jonathan Tisch (left) and John Mara (right) managed to laugh Wednesday despite needing to round up $40 million.|
Lamping said if there are any companies interested in joining now, they can call Jets owner Woody Johnson or Giants treasurer Jonathan Tisch -- the 2014 Super Bowl bid committee co-chairs -- starting Thursday.
Tisch interrupted and cracked, "No, starting today."
Mara pointed out repeatedly throughout this process that the Giants and Jets won't gain much by being rewarded the Super Bowl in their new building, outside of providing the area with a potential economic boost from holding one of the biggest events in the world. The Giants president and CEO says the teams will be "lucky" to break even after all is said and done.
The teams do hope to secure a multimillion-dollar naming rights for their $1.6 billion stadium -- something Mara says should not take long to happen. That could be worth an estimated $500 million.
"We are in very good shape financially in terms of where we are right now, with or without naming rights," Mara said. "Obviously this is the most costly stadium ever built and we've incurred a lot of debt to get it built, but the naming rights will come at some point in the future."
"[But] Jon Tisch and Woody have got some heavy lifting to do in terms of raising the type of money that you need to make this pay off. Obviously, it should help us in the naming rights, but in terms of the game itself, the league places a pretty big burden on you in terms of what you have to provide to get ready for the game."
The Giants and Jets will have access to 109 of the 219 club suites in the sparkling 82,500-seat stadium. Those will be distributed to their suite holders but the money will go to the league. Both teams will split 6.2 percent of the overall ticket allotment.
Mara said the teams can break even through sponsorships.
"There are suites in this building and there are sponsorships, different things you can do to raise the money," Mara said. "They go out and sometimes get private contributions, sometimes package tickets with suites to become an official sponsor of the Super Bowl XLVIII bid. There are a lot of different things you can do and a lot of events that lead up to the game where you have some opportunities to do some things, but it is in excess of $40 million and that is a heavy lift."
While Mara's voice sounded as if he had just gone through an NFC championship overtime game, the Giants owner was still beaming at the news conference held with New York Gov. David Paterson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Neither state politician could contain his enthusiasm for hosting what Johnson described as the biggest event ever held in New York and New Jersey.
Both Paterson and Christie were peppered with questions from reporters about the NFL's title game being potentially played in inclement weather.
"We now will have a game with many unanticipated moments," Paterson said. "Even in the Super Bowls that we've had, it's the unanticipated moments that you remember. And how about the unanticipated moment when the most unlikeliest of receivers, David Tyree, makes a spectacular one-handed catch, propelling him into fame, taking Eli Manning out of the shadows of his brother and his father, helping the Giants win the Super Bowl and wiping that smirk off of [New England] Coach [Bill] Belichick's face?"
Both governors were asked what they will tell people to do in the case a blizzard hits the 2014 Super Bowl. They normally would ask commuters to stay off the roads during hazardous weather.
"Then I will change my position," Paterson joked.
Fans driving in bad weather is a challenge that will come later. For now, the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl committee is more worried about the drive to make $40 million and making sure Super Bowl XLVIII is the best party New York has ever thrown.
"It is a huge process," Mara said. "You want it to go well. You don't want to spare any expense. You want people to be comfortable, the fans, teams and the media. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. There will be a lot of pressure on us to do a good job."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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