NEW YORK (AP) — The Super Bowl practically comes with a guarantee of A-list star wattage: No matter where it's held, celebrities flock to the big game and the blowout extravaganzas connected to it.
But its location this year at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. — just outside of New York City — has raised the bar for over-the-top parties and events that one would only expect from the self-professed capital of the world.
"New York is hot and has always been hot, so the pressure is on. Energy will be pumping, wherever you may be," said Shape magazine Editor-in-Chief Tara Kraft, who is helping plan a $2,500-a-ticket event at New York's swanky Cipriani's, co-sponsored by Men's Fitness. It will feature Mary J. Blige, Marc Anthony and John Legend.
So far, it seems like the city has delivered on that promise. Jay Z will perform at DirecTV's Super Bowl Eve party; Drake is due to perform at another; the Foo Fighters are performing across from Bud Light's floating party on a cruise ship; the Kings of Leon and the Black Keys are set to rock out at two different events; GQ is planning an exclusive, invite-only party that's still under wraps but likely to attract plenty of boldface names; and Super Bowl staple parties sponsored by the likes of Playboy and Maxim are expected to be even more wild given this year's location.
"I think the expectations are a lot higher for New York," said Jon Gieselman of DirecTV, which invented the Celebrity Beach Bowl. "What's so unique about it is you're competing with other Super Bowl events but you're really competing, also, with all of the other incredible things that New York has to offer. There's so much to do in New York."
Gieselman and his team began planning two years ago, rather than the usual one, due to tight competition for suitably large venues and navigation of complicated permitting procedures. Though there's a chance for blistering cold weather or even snow on Feb. 2, DirecTV is more than prepared for inclement weather: Its eighth annual beach bowl will be inside an 88,000-square-foot structure that he boasted can withstand hurricane-force wind. It will be filled with more than 1 million pounds of sand and is set to feature stars including Shay Mitchell of "Pretty Little Liars," model Chrissy Teigen and food TV star Guy Fieri, as well as retired football greats like Joe Montana. Rockers Paramore will perform.
Like the Beach Bowl, some of the biggest events will have some access for the non-boldfaced. Time Warner Cable will stage four nights of VIP parties and concerts from a pop-up; a small number of customers can win free tickets via Twitter to see P. Diddy and Drake on Super Bowl Eve and Kings of Leon that Thursday night. Janelle Monae, Fall Out Boy, TLC, J.Cole, the Goo Goo Dolls and Gavin DeGraw are among those booked by VH1 for a concert slate dubbed the "Super Bowl Blitz," six nights of entertainment in all boroughs, plus New Jersey.