New Orleans and New Jersey were rocked by natural disasters. New Jersey hopes the Super Bowl will bring it the same economic boost next year that it brought New Orleans this year.
New Orleans got hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. Then it got a Super Bowl, a helping hand for an economy and city still limping nearly eight years after natural disaster struck.
Next year, New Jersey, pummeled by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, is hoping for a similar Super Bowl boost.
In 2014, the Super Bowl will take place in MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL's Jets and Giants. The stadium sits in a swampy area of northern New Jersey called the Meadowlands.
Part of the NFL's reason for choosing the location was the desire for a cold-weather Super Bowl; Sunday, temperatures in the area were below freezing. The average for the area for this time of year is 23 to 41 degrees.
In announcing the location, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie said in a press release, "Hosting the big game on Feb. 2 and its many celebratory lead-up events during Super Bowl Week is a major win for the state, its tourism and economic developments."
Sandy killed at least 125 people, including 34 in New Jersey and 60 in New York, and was blamed for about $62 billion in damage. Most of the burden of that damage fell on New Jersey and New York.
In January, the Senate approved a $60.4 billion aid package for Sandy.
While that will help rebuild homes and businesses, it won't recover New Jersey's image. Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications and public relations for New Orleans' Convention & Visitors Bureau, knows that lesson all too well.
"There's that image of the Jersey Shore," she said, referring to the photo of wrecked amusement park rides floating in the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by chunks of the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. "That's an iconic image."
Speaking with MSN News, Schulz said images of flooded tourist areas and destroyed buildings, replayed on television over and over, can lead to misperceptions that last for years.
Schulz said New Orleans launched an aggressive campaign following Hurricane Katrina to let people know the main tourism sections of the city were not damaged. She went to New Jersey in January to teach tourism officials there how to do the same.
Lori Pepenella, destination marketing director for the Long Beach Island, N.J., region, was one of those officials.
"There is a lot of parallels about rebuilding, about perception," Pepenella said.
HOPE ON THE HORIZON
Now, New Jersey is hoping the Super Bowl will bring it the same image-cleansing boon New Orleans experienced this year.
According to Schulz, that boon included $432 million, as well as 150,000 visitors, booked-up hotels and restaurants full of customers.
Pepenella told MSN News she sees the Super Bowl as a way to draw people to New Jersey who may never have thought of visiting before. Long Beach Island is a beach town far south of the football stadium, but, Pepenella said, "What benefits the state, benefits us."
The game is sure to draw a lot of media attention again next year. Pepenella said she hopes that will allow officials like her to "present a positive face" on a region now remembered for Sandy's destruction.
"I'm excited for them," Schultz said of New Jersey. "It's a great opportunity for them to really show the world their state and their region."
Related from MSN: Twitter's Take: Super Bowl XLVII
MSN News on Facebook and Twitter
Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.
Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews