Super Bowl XLVI- Buying Spree Kicks Off

The kickoff is five days away, but New York is already a Super Bowl winner.

The Giants' unexpected trip to Arizona has turned on a Big Blue spending spigot in New York at a time when the rest of the country is counting its pennies.

It has sparked a run on all things Giants, including Eli Manning jerseys, and has New Yorkers stocking up on everything from potato chips and beer to big-ticket items such as flat-screen TVs for Super Bowl bashes.

Restaurants and bars big and small also are expecting to do well on Super Sunday, preparing for overflow crowds and fat checks.

"It's just like Christmas" crowed Sam Beyruti, general manager of the P.C. Richard & Son store on Broadway and W. 86th St. "It helps out with New York being in the Super Bowl - that gives a sense of, 'Let me spend the money for New York.'"

Television sales accounted for half the revenue at the chain over the weekend - and the spending is expected to continue until the big game. Giants fans eager to see every punt, pass and kick against the heavily favored Patriots are deciding that now is the time to buy high-def, flat screens.

"This is the top of the line," said John O'Connell of Queens, at the P.C. Richard store in Astoria, where he plunked down $2,469 for a 46-inch HD Samsung TV. "It's not going to get much better."

Big Blue also means big bucks for the purveyors of Giants gear, and stores like Modell's and the Sports Authority have had to restock to meet the demand.

"You can't count on this business every year, but when it happens you have to really capitalize on it," said Sports Authority district manager George Cartolano, who has been ordering Giants jerseys for stores throughout the state. "It's going to be a madhouse!"

Sports collectible companies are reporting big sales, with buyers suddenly wanting anything with quarterback Eli Manning's name and number on it.

"Eli Manning has become part of the fabric of New York sports," said Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports. "He's an icon. The demand has been overwhelming."

D'Agostino, which operates 15 supermarkets in Manhattan, is counting on demand for beer, chips and guacamole to propel sales at least 20% higher than on a typical Sunday.

"Everyone on that day is a Giants fan," marketing manager Anderson Chung said.

Many New Yorkers started stocking up early for the party.

"Two things you need when you're watching a 13½-point underdog: booze and Pepto [Bismol]," said Joe Marino, 27, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who was shopping at his local Key Food store.

Marino's cart was filled with 12 bags of tortilla chips, three 18 packs of light beer and four packs of hot dogs. And he's coming back for more meat later this week - an outlay of another $200 for his party.

"We're going much heavier on beer and all deli items and platters," said Key Food assistant manager Arrman Mohamed, 37. "We're having extra cashiers Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's going to be crazy."

At the ESPN Zone in Times Square, they're going to need extra staff to handle all the crowds.

"With the hype surrounding this game, potentially we could see people sleeping outside," marketing manager Susan Abramson said. "The enthusiasm and excitement is beyond what it usually is."

How super will Super Bowl Sunday be for New York's economy? Local economists says it's difficult to measure the flurry of pregame spending, especially because it's still ongoing. But it's all positive.

"The problem is that the game isn't being played here, so we can't measure things like hotel room occupancy," said consultant John Tepper Marlin of CityEconomist. "But when you fill up on a day in the wintertime when things are not full, that's new money."


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