Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com
SECAUCUS, N.J. — Forget about setting up those kegs or buffet tables in the parking lot before this season’s Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. There will be no tailgating, according to the game’s committee CEO, Al Kelly.
“You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car,” Kelly said. “And provided you’re in the boundaries of a single parking space, you’ll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However, you’re not going to be able to take out a lounge chair, you’re not going to be able to take out a grill, and you’re not going to be able to take up more than one parking space. And it’ll all be watched very carefully.”
You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in you car. And provided you’re in the boundaries of a single parking space, you’ll be able to eat or drink right next to your car.
” — Al Kelly, Super Bowl committee
The tailgating news came during the committee’s Monday news conference regarding transportation and safety for the Feb. 2, 2014, game.
There will be only three ways for the expected 80,000 ticket holders to get to the game. The committee will charter buses called the Fan Express, which will cost $51 and pick up and drop off passengers at nine locations around the region. Fans can also take N.J. Transit to the MetLife Stadium stop or be dropped off by vehicles that must have parking passes.
There will be fewer than 13,000 parking spots available for fans.
And hiring a black car, taxi or limo won’t be an option for VIPs who will spend thousands of dollars per ticket. No cars will be allowed near the stadium on game day without parking passes, and any car that drops off a passenger will have to wait at the stadium.
“Nobody’s going to be dropped off by black car,” Kelly said. “You can have a black car, a green car, a white car, a red car as long as you have parking, and the car needs to stay on the premises the entire time.”
Fans who had considered parking farther from the stadium and getting there on foot will not be allowed to enter.
“You cannot walk to the Super Bowl,” Kelly said. “You can get your hotel to drop you off at one of the New Jersey Transit locations or get the shuttle to take you to a Fan Express location, but you cannot walk.”
Ultimately, Kelly said he expects that between 70 and 80 percent of all ticket holders will get to the game via public transportation or shuttle bus. There will be 1,600 parking spots for buses.
The reduced parking capacity is a result of the large security perimeter needed for the Super Bowl. Fans will have to go through security screenings at the train station and again at the stadium, Kelly said.
Kelly and fellow host committee members Woody Johnson (New York Jets owner) and Steve Tisch (New York Giants co-owner) have been calling Super Bowl XLVIII the public transportation Super Bowl ever since they started working on the logistics.
Kelly introduced officials from the MTA, NJ Transit and NJ Path to discuss the added schedules and plans for the week of the Super Bowl, when New York City and New Jersey could see an influx of 400,000 travelers.
NJ Transit will offer a Super Pass for $50 that will be good for all trains, light rail and bus service it provides.
The committee had tried to put together a transit card that would have allowed Super Bowl visitors to switch between all three forms of transit on a single ticket, but it fell apart. Kelly said the different technologies used by the organizations made it a complicated undertaking, though the desire was there.
James Simpson, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, said the department will suspend all construction before the week of the game and planned to staff Super Bowl media day and game day at the same level it does for a weather emergency.
Lanes will be dedicated exclusively to official Super Bowl vehicles on game day. The goal, Simpson said, is to keep traffic moving smoothly on all highways and bridges during a potentially high-traffic time period.
Of course, there is potential for snow and ice. A blizzard might make for great television viewing but would be a logistical nightmare for Super Bowl organizers. Simpson said New Jersey has the equipment and personnel to manage any kind of weather, however.