Super Bowl preparations in high gear - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Super Bowl preparations in high gear

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New Orleans, La. - The stage is set for the biggest game in the NFL and the city isn't wasting a moment to prepare for it.

"You've got the NFL in town. The national broadcast units are here setting up and the contractors and vendors are here," says Mark Romig with the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp.

5,000 members of the news media are already trickling into town.   And along Decatur Street, Jackson Square is being transformed with stages and platforms.

"The Dome is going to look the best it's ever looked. $336 million have been spent on getting the building to how it looks today, and the NFL has plans to build out pretty much every square inch of not just the Dome but the surrounding property," says Eric Eagan, a spokesman for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Right now there's very limited access to the inside, where Eagan says the NFL is working around the clock.  "On the field right now, they are constructing special rigging for the halftime show and when that's all constructed, they'll raise it up with cables," says Eagan.

150,000 football fans are expected to converge on New Orleans, where hotel rooms are virtually sold out.

"We've got fans that will start coming in from both teams that are buying into packages with their tickets," says Romig.

Fans who waited to find out which teams would be in the Super Bowl before making travel arrangements will have a tough time finding a place to stay.  Jeanenne Tornatore of Orbitz.com says there are a few rooms as close as Covington left, but those are going fast.

"We're even starting to see hotels fill up along the Gulf Coast. They had a big marketing push and people are booking those rooms," says Tornatore.

Most fans will be flying in and Orbitz.com is paying close attention to flights being booked to New Orleans from Baltimore and San Francisco.

"Right now, San Francisco leads with about 38 percent in terms of seats on flights coming in to New Orleans," says Tornatore

For airfare alone, a round-trip ticket from Baltimore is averaging about $800 a person and it's about $1100 for a round-trip ticket from San Francisco.

No matter what the price, it seems someone's buying.  Once they are here in New Orleans, the city is promising the ultimate Super Bowl experience.

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