NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City is co-hosting the Super Bowl this weekend but its mayor will not attend the nation’s biggest sporting event.
Bill de Blasio will not travel across the Hudson River to MetLife Stadium on Sunday to watch the Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in a game that will showcase the nation’s largest city to a television audience expected to top 100 million people.
De Blasio said he would stay home to watch with his teenage son, but the decision not to buy tickets to the high-priced event and to publicly say so is in line with the image he crafted during his campaign: that he was a middle-class family man focused on fixing the city’s widening income inequality.
Elected officials are prohibited from accepting free tickets to the game and the requirement to pay -- with face values ranging from $500 to $2,500 -- can be difficult for those without deep pockets.
De Blasio is paid $225,000 a year and made $165,000 a year the last four years as the city’s elected public advocate.
De Blasio, who hails from a middle- to upper-middle class Brooklyn neighborhood, has joked about his lack of disposable income. He has one child in college and another who will be going in two years. Despite being an avid sports fan who lives near the new Barclays Center, he has yet to attend a Brooklyn Nets game due to high ticket prices.
By contrast, his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, was one of the richest men in New York, worth approximately $31 billion. Not much of a sports fan, he would often attend games, always sitting just a few rows from the action. He once accidentally tripped and injured an opposing player while sitting courtside at Madison Square Garden for a Knicks game.
Tickets to the Super Bowl are among the priciest in sports. The NFL set the prices at $800, $1,000, $1,200 and $2,500, while another 1,000 tickets were available for $500 each through a lottery.
In most cases, New York City officials can’t accept free tickets to the game, according to guidelines spelled out by the city’s Conflict of Interest Board. Elected officials can only receive gifts of up to $50, an amount that would barely cover a handful of souvenirs.