Girding for the Gridiron’s biggest day

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens
Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens

UPDATED September 20, 1:04 p.m. Though the football season has only just begun, diehard fans know where they’re going to be come Feb. 2, 2020: watching the Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Those wanting to travel in style should have some deep pockets: A Super Bowl LIV package for a one-bedroom overlooking the beach at 1 Hotel South Beach will run them $13,963 a night, according to Five Star Luxury Travel, a Miami Beach-based brokerage specializing in listing and managing rental units at high-end condo-hotels. At the same property, a four-bedroom penthouse with ocean views throughout the unit is priced at $62,577 a night during the days around the big game.

Yet Five Star Luxury Travel owner Jennifer Restrepo insists Super Bowl spectators who might rent those accommodations are getting a bargain. “Our prices are 10 percent to 30 percent lower than if you book directly with the hotel,” Restrepo said. “And most of the five-star resorts on the beach are completely booked for Super Bowl.”

Indeed, according to travel booking site Expedia, a penthouse at 1 Hotel South Beach is going for $119,642 a night between Jan. 30 and Feb. 3, 2020 — the four-day weekend that includes Super Bowl Sunday. Elsewhere on the property, a unit identical to the one Five Star is listing for $14,272 was listed for $71,750 on Expedia. And one- and two-bedroom suites are completely sold out.

As Miami prepares to host the NFL’s premier event for the 11th time — the most for any host city — the local hotel and short-term rental sectors are banking on game-day-related bookings producing astronomical revenue. Realtors like Restrepo said luxury stays will significantly surpass average prices visitors pay during high-season, week-long events such as Art Basel and the South Beach Food and Wine Festival.  “For those, you are looking at an average daily rate in the $3,000s,” she said. “Where it has jumped to for Super Bowl is pretty extraordinary.”

Super Bowl prices are more than double the nightly rates between Dec. 2 and 6, the week of Art Basel, when the “ultra penthouse” at 1 Hotel South Beach goes for $52,624 a night and a three-bedroom suite with an ocean view goes for $15,536 a night, according to Expedia.

The big bump

Just how much cash might the game rake in for hospitality? The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau is projecting that hotels alone will see an $11.4 million increase during the four-day Super Bowl weekend compared to the same period in 2019. Luxury hotels and resorts such as Faena Hotel Miami Beach, the Setai, St. Regis Bal Harbour, Four Seasons at the Surf Club, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Mandarin Oriental, JW Marriott Marquis and Kimpton Epic Hotel are completely booked. Meanwhile, rooms at three- and four-star lodges, hotels and hostels in downtown Miami and Miami Beach range from $354 to more than $1,000 a night.

The hotel industry is still in a boom cycle, said Rich Lillis, Boca Raton-based national director of Colliers International’s hotels group (see our analysis of the hotel market on page 56). “When we have an event like this, the demand goes off the charts,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons why investors show great interest in South Florida’s hotel sector … It fits into their macro thinking.”

Super Bowl visitors typically stay for a week, and in some cases two weeks, so hotels will be more selective in making rooms available, Lillis added. “They won’t take a single-night person if they can get someone else for two weeks into a room,” he said.

In the short-term luxury rental market, pricing will be even higher than for the 2010 Super Bowl, the last time it was held in Miami, as the number of homes available for rent in Miami Beach and surrounding coastal communities has shrunk in the past nine years, said Bill Hernandez, half of the Bill and Bryan Team at Douglas Elliman. He said homeowners in Miami Beach neighborhoods that don’t allow short-term rentals have stopped listing their homes with brokers and online platforms such as Airbnb. As a result, property owners in areas where the city allows short-term rentals, such as along Collins Avenue where the Setai,  W Miami Beach and 1 Hotel South Beach are located, can charge a premium daily rate — about 50 to 75 percent more than what they would normally charge. Prices are even higher in single-family neighborhoods such as a small unincorporated section of the Venetian Islands, Hernandez added.

“Those that can do it are charging crazy numbers like $100,000 to $120,000 per week for mansions,” Hernandez said. “The folks who would spend this type of money are big-money CEOs and sports franchise owners and executives.”

Bryan Sereny, Hernandez’s partner at Douglas Elliman, said Super Bowl attendees seeking a posh house with at least 7,000 square feet can expect to pay $50,000 to $60,000 a night.

“That’s what people are paying for an 8,000-square-foot house in the Hamptons at the top of the market during the summer,” Sereny said. “As we get a little closer to the game, you could get more of a premium. Super Bowl is definitely the next level.”

The lowest rate Restrepo is offering for Super Bowl LIV is $10,252 for a one-bedroom unit with an ocean view. Two- and three-bedroom condos start at $18,793 and $34,873 a night, respectively (as of Sept. 15). The packages require a minimum four-night stay and include transportation to and from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens via a limo or SUV, concierge services, daily massages and in-suite dining. For some perspective, the maintenance cost for a one-bedroom unit at 1 Hotel South Beach is $19,200 a year, Restrepo said.

1 Hotel South Beach

While Five Star Luxury Travel has received a couple of dozen inquiries, the firm has not yet booked any of the 1 Hotel South Beach units it advertises, Restrepo said. “It is pretty far in advance for these reservations,” she said. “We don’t anticipate to book them for another few weeks.”

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Restrepo, Hernandez and Sereny said that while most luxury hotels in Miami and Miami Beach are officially filled up, the bookings are made by travel companies that resell the rooms to Super Bowl consumers who may have not yet finalized their plans. Super-high-end clients tend to make their travel plans two to three months in advance, they added.

Still, Restrepo said her clients — some of whom are football celebrities who own 1 Hotel units — are confident they will rent their condos at such exorbitant prices. “These are high-net-worth individuals whose 1 Hotel units are their third or fourth homes,” she said. “They only come to town a handful of times a year. It is amazing to have an investment home that can make this much income in one week.”

The other guys

Brokers Restrepo, Hernandez and Sereny are competing with sports tourism companies that buy large blocks of hotel rooms with packages similar to what Five Star Luxury Travel offers, but that also include access to VIP parties with former and current NFL stars and seats at the actual game. For instance, White Plains, New York-based On Location Experiences has base packages starting at $24,390 per person, which includes tickets to lower-level and club seats at Hard Rock Stadium and a minimum three-night stay at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. A hotel spokesperson declined to comment regarding Super Bowl room rates and prices were not available on travel websites, since the hotel is fully booked for the four-day weekend.

Kyle Kinnett, owner of Indianapolis-based Bullseye Event Group, said his firm has packages starting at $6,000 for upper-level seats, VIP access to an NFL players’ tailgate party and stays at either the SLS Brickell, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Viceroy or Mandarin Oriental. “We started contacting hotels two years ago,” said Kinnett. “It is harder to find hotel rooms than Super Bowl tickets.”

He said he’s seeing more interest in Super Bowl LIV because it’s in Miami. “You have a beach and you have an ocean,” Kinnett said. “Miami is a destination. My most popular package in Miami is a four-night stay. For Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, it was a three-night package.”

Hotel operators prefer to work with companies like Bullseye because of the convenience of dealing with a single client, Kinnett said. “I tell them, would you rather sell me 50 rooms at an escalated rate and deal with one person writing you a check, or do you want to deal with dozens of individuals complaining about rates being too high, etc.?”

Kinnett declined to discuss the hotel room rates he secured.

As short-term rental brokers duke it out with the sports travel firms, business travel hotel operators and owners are seeking out deals with the NFL to house league executives, employees, vendors and contractors. Related Group Chief Operating Officer Matthew Allen, who is Miami-Dade co-chair of the Super Bowl LIV Host Committee, said roughly 17,000 rooms with minimum three-night stays between Miami-Dade and Broward have been blocked off for the NFL and related entities.

The league designated the InterContinental in downtown Miami as its headquarters hotel during the big game. The hotel, which has 653 guest rooms and more than 101,000 square feet of exhibition space, connects to the baywalk along Bayfront Park that will host the week-long NFL Experience. In Broward, the committee designated the Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood as a host property because of its 1,000 guest rooms and 209,000 square feet of meeting space, Allen said.

Ryan Shear, a managing partner with Property Markets Group, said his firm is in preliminary discussions with the Miami Dolphins and the NFL to house personnel in its X Miami Apartments project at 230 Northeast Fourth Street in downtown Miami.

“We don’t have anything specific yet, but we do know there is a massive need for housing for the NFL,” Shear said. “For us, it’s beneficial in every sense of the word to promote our building during Super Bowl.”

Shear said he couldn’t comment on how much the firm would charge the NFL per room, and InterContinental Miami’s general manager, Robert Hill, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment about room rates for the Super Bowl.

In Miami Beach, the Hampton Inn at the Continental, a 100-key hotel at 4000 Collins Avenue set to open in the fall, snagged a contract with the NFL to block off 85 rooms for staffers from the league’s consumer products division, said Todd Benson, a partner with Boca Raton-based Pebb Capital, which co-owns the property with Duncan Hillsley Capital.

“The NFL has done deals with Hampton Inn before, so that is one advantage we had,” Benson said. “Plus, the NFL is getting a new hotel in a central location. We were a very attractive option for them.”

Anticipating they would vie for an NFL housing contract, the hotel’s management team did not place the corresponding dates for Super Bowl week into any hotel booking systems. “Those dates were excluded so we could be able to work on something like this,” Benson said. “If we had allowed reservations during Super Bowl week, we would not have stood a chance.”

This article has amended to reflect that Bill Hernandez of Douglas Elliman estimated the cost of renting Miami Beach mansions to be $100,000 to $120,000 per week rather than per day.