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County Catches Super Bowl Fever

January 15, 1987|MARK LANDSBAUM | Times Staff Writer

As Super Bowl Week approaches, crucial preparations are being made.

Drinks are being named after New York Giant football players at the bar in the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel. At the Newporter Resort in Newport Beach, waitresses will soon don Denver Bronco jerseys.

As you read these words, thousands of T-shirts, sweat shirts, mugs, pens, pennants and assorted other gridiron memorabilia stamped with the official Super Bowl XXI logo are being shipped from a Santa Ana warehouse to retail outlets and 36 hotels throughout Southern California.

And at the Anaheim Marriott hotel, desks are being hauled in and king-size beds hauled out as the 16th floor is transformed into National Football League offices.

There's more yet: 900 newspaper and television people will soon cram into the rest of the Marriott's rooms.

No doubt about it--Super Bowl XXI, only 10 days away, promises to be the biggest thing to hit Orange County since, well, since the Winter National Assn. of Music Merchants International Convention, which concludes this weekend at hotels in the Anaheim area.

The gathering of music merchants is "a citywide convention bringing up to 30,000 people into our community," said Harold Queisser, marketing director at the Anaheim Marriott.

Hotel and convention officials estimate about 50,000 out-of- towners will be drawn to Southern California for the Super Bowl. But they expect many of them to bunk down in Los Angeles and Pasadena, where many hotels will also be filled.

In Anaheim, where Disneyland draws strong January crowds, the football influx will not be a particularly large surge in the population. "We're used to big things, meaning big conventions," Queisser said.

Not that he is downplaying the super effect of Super Sunday. Revenue for the Marriott resulting from the Super Bowl could run to $1 million, he said.

Teams to Check In

By early next week, the music merchants will be gone, and Super Bowl mania will have arrived. The Giants are to check in at the Westin on Sunday, and the Broncos are due Monday at the Newporter. Not far behind will be families, team VIPs and guests, to say nothing of the thousands of fans and what some might term "groupies."

"We don't call them that," said Cathy Boire, spokeswoman for the Westin South Coast Plaza.

But whether you call them groupies or "increased traffic from Giant fans," as Boire does, the Westin is preparing for their arrival, too.

"We (will) just turn the entire hotel into Giantville," Boire said. "We will outfit the staff in uniforms, hats, buttons. . . . We are turning our cocktail lounge, the Taverna, into the End Zone. It will be geared toward the Giants."

The "increased traffic from Giant fans" is expected to crowd the End Zone's dance floor in the hope of running into Giant quarterback Phil Simms. The bar will add a disc jockey.

Marketing Memorabilia

A few miles to the west, Nick Tabler and his Pennsylvania crew from All Pro Championships already have moved into a MacArthur Boulevard warehouse from which they will distribute the Super Bowl XXI memorabilia.

"We supply everybody," Tabler said. "But people in Southern California, having Super Bowls (played here) before, don't really get turned on until we get real close to the game."

The All Pro Championships crews are working around the clock to ship 40 different types of souvenir items that have grossed as much as $8 million at past Super Bowls, he said.

NFL teams have stayed in Orange County hotels for previous Super Bowls. But what brings them here? Orange County's fine restaurants? The beaches? Disneyland?

"The big thing here is the practice sites," said Jim Steeg, NFL director of special events.

To Train at Rams Park

The Giants will train at Rams Park in Anaheim, while the Broncos will work out at UC Irvine.

"Both teams will end up housing 500 to 600 rooms of people, everybody from the head coach to the quarterback to the quarterback's grandmother," Steeg said. "The two hotels where the teams will be staying will be mobbed. The fans will hang out to talk to everybody, thinking they will run into (Bronco quarterback) John Elway."

At the Newporter Resort, the 45 Bronco players will be housed two to a room, but "there won't be any rooms left," hotel managing director Mac MacNeill said. "We are at maximum capacity . . . 405 rooms."

The other rooms will be filled by family, friends and miscellaneous groups here for the game, he said. The influx will about double the normal occupancy rate for the Newporter for this time of year, he said.

Revenues Estimated

"And they spend a buck while they are here," MacNeill said. "With people drinking and eating and that kind of thing, I would guess (hotel revenues to be) $400,000 during the Super Bowl week."

The Newporter will provide special security measures, as will the NFL and the Broncos, MacNeill said. The precautions are confidential, but Newporter spokesmen would say that the team will be isolated in the hotel and that players will have a curfew.

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