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In Phoenix, Super Bowl Madness In Full Swing

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A stay at a Super 8 outside Washington, D.C., will run you about 60 bucks a night. Around Phoenix right now, it could be 10 times that - that is if there were any rooms left. The Super Bowl is Sunday, and people are already arriving and plunking down cash. Thirty million dollars in public and private funds were spent to host the game, and the region is hoping for a huge return. That includes Super 8, as Curt Nickisch of member station WBUR reports.

CURT NICKISCH, BYLINE: With 100,000 football fans on their way, nearly every Phoenix hotel is sold out. The no-frills Super 8 motel five blocks east of downtown is getting in on the profits and on the fanfare, too.

WALT SHEM: We need to get fruit. We need to get Cool Whip. We need to pick up the helium.

NICKISCH: Manager Walt Shem (ph) sold his last economy room for nearly $500 per night.

SHEM: People are going to drop a lot of money. We don't want them to feel that they're blowing their money and we're ripping them off.

NICKISCH: Shem doesn't have the same budget as the big, fancy hotels downtown, but he's doing his best to add some frills - pennants in the reception area, catered burritos instead of continental breakfast and balloons in team colors for each guest. Receptionist Carla Garrett (ph) says employees feel like they're part of the big event.

CARLA GARRETT: Just the interaction with all the people and feeling all the excitement, being right in the middle of it - I love that.

NICKISCH: With the guest list split evenly between Boston and Seattle fans, the motel will play it neutral. It's raising a big white balloon over the property this weekend with a flag of Super Bowl XLIX. For NPR News, I'm Curt Nickisch in Phoenix. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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