NEW YORK - Larry Kennedy was rooting against the New England Patriots this week, and not just because they often beat his favorite team, the Buffalo Bills. He figured a Denver Broncos win would provide a better chance to make money renting out his Manhattan apartment for the Super Bowl.
Kennedy, 26, listed the home on Craigslist and Airbnb three days ago after the Broncos and Seattle Seahawks secured spots in the National Football League championship game in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey. He and his roommate are seeking $750 a night for the two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village that rents for $3,300 monthly.
“Seeing as the Broncos and Seahawks are both far away, this is just about the best outcome I could have hoped for,” said Kennedy, who will be skiing in Utah during the Feb. 2 Super Bowl. “I knew I was going to be gone so I figured it was a good opportunity to make a few dollars.”
New York-area residents are finding the opportunity to profit from their homes as a swarm of football fans converge on the region to attend the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, located 8 miles (13 kilometers) from midtown Manhattan. With the teams now decided, listings for rentals are climbing as more locals seek to accommodate Broncos and Seahawks devotees rushing to make plans for the game, according to HomeAway Inc.
The Austin, Texas-based vacation-rental website had a more than 20 percent jump in listings for Super Bowl weekend in the “gateway” region of New Jersey - which includes towns just outside New York City such as Hoboken, Jersey City and Montclair - in the week through Jan. 22. That brought the total listings available on the site in that area to 170, more than triple the number available at the same time last year.
The average nightly price of a home for rent in the New Jersey gateway region during Super Bowl week was almost $1,600 as of two days ago, according to HomeAway. In Manhattan, the average rate has jumped to $1,740 a night, compared with about $530 during a more typical time.
“Super Bowls generally drive a very large increase in supply from owners and demand from travelers,” Jon Gray, a senior vice president at HomeAway, said in a telephone interview. “We expect bookings to be pretty strong right up until the last minute.”
Tyson Thorne, a 37-year-old graphic designer at Johnson & Johnson, is among the New Jersey homeowners jumping into the rental market in the past week. He spent the the day of the conference championships photographing his newly renovated basement in Lodi to prepare for a Super Bowl listing. After hearing neighbors talking about renting out houses, he and his wife decided to offer the space with hopes of recouping costs from fixing up the area, which has a separate entrance and room for four guests.
Thorne listed the space at his home, less than 6 miles from MetLife Stadium, for $1,000 night on HomeAway, Airbnb and Craigslist on Jan. 19, not long after Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman helped seal the National Football Conference title with a pass deflection that prevented the San Francisco 49ers from scoring a potential winning touchdown.
“We realized people might be tuning into the games and waiting to see who won before finalizing their plans,” Thorne said. “We just put two and two together and thought this would be a good opportunity for us.”
Matt Haraburda, a 23-year-old 49ers fan, awaited the outcome of the NFC championship game before listing his four- bedroom apartment at 57th Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan on Craigslist. The fixed-income analyst and one of his roommates were contemplating attending the Super Bowl if San Francisco won. Instead, they’re looking to avoid the festivities and are asking $2,000 a night for three of the home’s four bedrooms. The monthly rent on the apartment is about $5,600 with utilities.
“There’s no need to stay there if we can make up a month’s rent,” Haraburda said.
On HomeAway, the most expensive property available for the Super Bowl is an 8,200-square-foot (760-square-meter) English manor-style home in North Caldwell, the town that was the home of fictional TV character Tony Soprano. The asking price is $119,500 for the entire week of the game.
The mansion, which sits on a 3.5-acre (1.4-hectare) lot about 15 miles from the stadium, has six bedrooms, five and a half baths, 10 flat-screen televisions, a hot tub, home gym, three fireplaces and daily maid service. The rental also comes with a French-trained chef who will provide three meals a day and access to a wine cellar with a selection of 600 bottles.
Donald Salmon, who is marketing the property on behalf of the owner, said he first listed the home in December. He had a few calls on it before the Super Bowl teams were settled and got a “serious” inquiry from a potential renter in Washington state this week.
“It’s not cheap, clearly, so we’re looking for something corporate, or a wealthy individual,” Salmon said. “Who knows? Maybe Peyton Manning’s family wants it,” he said, referring to the Broncos quarterback.
For travelers on more of a budget, hotel rooms were still available as of earlier this week. The average price for a room in the New York area for Super Bowl weekend was $327 as of Jan. 20, a 63 percent increase over that same time period last year, according to Orbitz Worldwide Inc. Prices are highest close to the stadium, with rooms in towns such as East Rutherford and Secaucus going for $382 a night. They still have 12 percent availability for the night before the game, data from the Chicago-based company show.
In Union City and Jersey City, where the Broncos and Seahawks will stay in the week leading up to the game, the average price was $258, with 29 percent availability.
“If you’re looking to stay close to the stadium, it’s going to sell out,” said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior travel editor at Orbitz. “There will be rooms available in Manhattan, but the prices will rise steadily as the game gets closer.”
Hotel rates are cheaper than with last year’s game in New Orleans, where the average room went for $500 a night during the weekend of the game because of less supply, according to Orbitz. There are almost 109,000 hotel rooms in the New York market, compared with about 37,000 in the Big Easy, according to the travel-research firm STR.
Demand for Super Bowl tickets on the secondary market has so far been average at best, Chris Matcovich, vice president of data for ticket aggregator TiqIQ, said Jan. 21. Ticket availability this week was the most in TiqIQ records going back to 2010, with 9,987 available as of yesterday. The average price was $3,804, compared with an average of $3,295 on that date last year, when 3,460 tickets were available.
The fans who do travel for the game also have untraditional options. Patrick Rossi, an oncologist with Novartis AG, this week listed a yacht docked in Jersey City on Craigslist Denver for $4,500 a day.
The 70-foot (21-meter) boat has four staterooms and three full bathrooms, and comes with maid service and a pick-up at Newark Liberty International Airport. There is also a full kitchen, and Rossi said he knows a chef who will be happy to prepare meals there.
“You tell me what you want, I’ll work it out,” Rossi said. “They’ll have total access to the boat.”
— With assistance from Aaron Kuriloff, Mason Levinson and Oshrat Carmiel in New York and Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles.