With more than 400,000 visitors expected to flood the region for the Super Bowl and other game-related festivities next month, area roads and mass transit are bound to be even busier than usual. All 82,566 seats at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford are sold out for Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. The New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Company is seeking about 15,000 local volunteers to help with various tasks associated with bringing the first Super Bowl to New Jersey. Anyone who is 18 or older as of Nov. 1 is eligible. The only catch is passing a standard background check (at no charge to the applicant) and committing to at least two four-hour shifts.
One help-wanted ad had a few key requirements:
• Ability to stand for 8+ hours
• Ability to work outside in cold weather
• MUST WORK SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2nd, 2014
Another put it like this: “You will assist in effectively providing concierge like services for VIP and high profile guest associated with the NFL… Location: Secaucus. Compensation: $12/hour”
And a third had this to say: “2014 Super Bowl Candy needs to get out to all of the fans that will be here in February. If you are looking for extra holiday money, this is the perfect job for you.”
Of the half-billion dollars worth of economic activity that the 2014 Super Bowl is expected to generate for the region, a good chunk of it will come in the form of small paychecks for short-term jobs.
Thousands of temporary jobs have been created to handle the blitz of work needed to pull off, and make money from, one of the biggest sporting and cultural events in the world. Super Bowl promoters expect some 400,000 people, including about 150,000 from outside the region, to join in festivities that range from the game itself to local concerts and parties during the days leading up to it.
From construction workers to security officers to limo drivers, those who wanted work during the Super Bowl have had ample opportunity to find it. Some of these jobs are even coming with a free ticket to the game, with the catch that they’ll have to work the event.
While there aren’t exact projections on how many temp jobs the Super Bowl and its ancillary events will create, if past experience is any indication, it should be well beyond 5,000. An economic impact study by the University of New Orleans commissioned in the wake of the 2013 Super Bowl found that the game created more than 5,600 temp jobs and generated some $154 million in wages for the New Orleans area.
Similarly, a study by Rockport Analytics in West Chester, Pa., found that the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis created more than 5,500 jobs, and generated some $203 million in wages.
A large chunk, though by no means all, of this year’s jobs are paid for by the National Football League. The Super Bowl sponsor expects to use about 1,500 temp workers to staff events such as the Super Bowl Boulevard taking over New York’s Times Square and Media Day at the Prudential Center in Newark, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.
They’ll be working anywhere from four- to eight-hour shifts and making anywhere from $12 to $20 an hour, he said. Recruiting for these positions, however, was completed in early December to get the workers through background checks and credentials.
One of the firms charged with bringing on recruits was Triple Play Staffing. Cindie Steger-Heit said her firm, based in Garland, Texas, helped recruit temp works to prep food and service the luxury suites at MetLife Stadium. She said she submitted more than 250 candidates for game day credentials, some of whom were scouted through local community colleges.
And while her recruits could wind up around the best seats of the house, she said working the Super Bowl – this is her fourth – is hardly a time for luxury. “It’s fun but it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.”
Expect a 12- to 15-hour day with no time to take in the festivities, she said. “I have to make sure people understand that they are there to work and not watch game and enjoy a cocktail.”
And part of what she has to worry about are no-show workers – experience has taught her that folks who take a temp job at the Super Bowl also work as many of the events leading up to the game as they can. “A lot of people think they can stay up four days and they can make it to game day,” she said.
Not everyone is finding it easy to find workers, however. Andrew Kowalik, director of operations for RP Limos & Transport in Clifton, said he has been hunting for 20 qualified drivers to help him man a fleet of stretch limousines and party buses he wants to put in service for the game. He said he prefers hiring ex-cops and pays $30 an hour, but finding them has been tough.
“I think we will be lucky if we get five,” he said. “Everybody is looking for drivers.”
Arturo Osorio, an assistant professor at Rutgers Business School, notes that jobs created around the Super Bowl aren’t limited to parking lot attendants and ticket checkers at the gate. Construction workers and managers have found work for months building the infrastructure needed for the game, he said, not the least of which is the preparation at MetLife Stadium currently taking place.
There has also been demand for nurses and physicians who can beef up area medical facilities during the game, and for local bloggers who write about the Super Bowl with an aim of helping companies promote their products, Osorio said.
Being on the promotional side of the Super Bowl – which also happens to be one the biggest advertising events of the year – is what landed Kelsey Williams of Saddle Brook her temporary gig.
The 22-year-old Ramapo College graduate was one of 10 people to get a paid, five-week internship with the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to help it drum up Super Bowl-linked marketing campaigns for several major companies, including software giant SAP and the insurer MetLife. She’s mum on the projects she working on, except to say to they will involve well-known football figures doing things “that are going to surprise America.”
For Williams, the opportunity is not about making a few extra bucks thanks to throngs of well-heeled visitors coming to the area, but about taking strides down a young career path.
“The Super Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “This is going to be something that really teaches me how to work in the field.”