They were told they could count on it--on $100 million worth of Super Bowl-related tourist revenue pouring into the Southland from the journalists, football teams, league officials and 50,000 out-of-town fans drawn to Southern California for Sunday's game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
And on Wednesday, halfway through Super Bowl Week--with National Football League officials, both football teams and most of the media staying in Orange County hotels--merchants, restaurateurs and hotel managers in the county were counting indeed--counting the lion's share of the pregame tourist dollars.
"It's been real exciting around here," said Bob Seddlemeyer, general manager of the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel in Costa Mesa, where the New York Giants have been staying since Sunday. "We're still counting to see what (revenues) will be" for the week.
Seddlemeyer said that the team's stay at the 400-room hotel, booked solid for the weekend, has increased business at the Westin's restaurant and bar facilities but that "it's not a madhouse around here."
At the Newporter Resort, filled to capacity with Denver Broncos and their friends and family since Monday, a spokeswoman said it seems that the hotel will reach its earlier estimate of $400,000 in revenues for the week.
And even without a football team, officials of the Anaheim Marriott said they are confident that the hotel will reap the $1 million in revenues they had predicted. "We didn't expect to sell out until tomorrow but we sold out last night," said Harold Queisser, the hotel's director of marketing.
The Anaheim hotel is playing host to a number of reporters and to National Football League executives, who have taken over 950 of the hotel's 1,042 rooms.
Restaurants near the hotels also have seen an increase in business. At Baxter's, just down the road and around the corner from where the Broncos are staying in Newport Beach, manager Kent Kimbrock said the restaurant has had a revenue increase of at least 20% at the bar this week compared to a normal week in January.
Even some Bronco players have dropped in, added Kimbrock, who said Bronco quarterback John Elway has made a reservation at the restaurant and dance place this weekend for a party of 18.
Mr. Stox, an Anaheim restaurant, is making an extra $100,000 in revenue this month, said part-owner Chick Marshall. "For us, January in general has been better than other months, but this may be the best January of all," he said.
Like other Orange County restaurants, Marshall said, the restaurant has seen a rise in the number of reservations for larger parties. A worker for the Rex Restaurant in Newport Beach said that instead of dinner for two, the eatery has had bookings for "sixes and eights and twelves" this week.
Less consistent reports come from sporting goods merchants who have stocked up on Super Bowl memorabilia, ranging from T-shirts to engraved beer mugs. "We haven't felt any sort of response from tourists," said Perry Sugihara, a manager at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Costa Mesa. "We do have some T-shirts and that kind of thing, (but) not a lot of people are looking."
But Mark Christensen, owner of three Sports Fan Attic shops in Orange County, said sales have been more than brisk. He expects revenues of up to $60,000 this week on Super Bowl souvenirs alone.