MIAMI, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Planners are working to ensure everything is perfect when players take the field and fans head to their seats and hit the streets Sunday to celebrate Super Bowl LIV.
Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., will host Sunday's matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. While the stadium sits in the same place, a lot has changed since the game last was held there in 2010.
"What people don't understand is [the Dolphins] spent hundreds of millions of dollars, along with our governments, so our residents can have an event that produces hundreds of millions of dollars and economic impact," Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said on Monday.
New, tough grass
Chiefs and 49ers players will be the first athletes to use the surface on the Hard Rock Stadium field. The hybrid Bermuda grass was grown specifically for Super Bowl LIV.
The NFL peeled the grass off a field in southern Georgia and used 33 trucks to transport 2,000-pound rolls -- 800 of them -- to Florida. Installation was completed Jan. 10, but because of the sun's angle at Hard Rock Stadium, the league is using LED lights to improve growth.
The 40-member ground crew represents a big increase since the the original event.
"At the first Super Bowl [in 1967], we had myself and four people at the Memorial Coliseum [in Los Angeles] and six days to get ready," said George Toma, 90, who has led grounds crews at every Super Bowl.
Toma said he initially used a 3-by-4 trunk for his equipment, but now employs two semis.
"This field started [growing] over two years ago," NFL field director Ed Mangan said. "We got it primed and groomed and in the right conditions to put down, and obviously we've been working on it ever since/ We will be working on it until game day."
The grass was grown to be tougher than a typical football playing surface, so it can withstand rehearsals for pregame and halftime shows, live game-day entertainment and the actual game, for which fans and players are paying a hefty fee to watch in person.
Players get tickets
NFL players get access to as many as 15 tickets for the Super Bowl from their teams, but that doesn't stop them from getting more if they are willing to spend the money. The 15 ticket allotment includes two free tickets; the rest are sold at face value, which is generally $1,000 to $2,000 each.
"I haven't gotten many requests, but I know many people want to go to the game. These are record-breaking ticket prices. I had to tell a couple of my family members that we might not be able to make it work," 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said.
Sherman and Garoppolo have more experience than some teammates in getting Super Bowl tickets. Garoppolo has never played in a Super Bowl, but was a member of the New England Patriots for two championship runs. Sherman appeared in two Super Bowls with the Seattle Seahawks.
The average resale price for Super Bowl tickets at Ticketmaster is nearly $9,000, the highest in the past six years. Tickets at other resale markets were selling for $4,000 to $50,000 as of Tuesday night.
Planning for a crowd
Detours and road closures are popping up in Miami as the city prepares for more than 150,000 Super Bowl visitors and events surrounding the game.
"If you think about it, more people watch NFL football on Sundays than those who vote in this country," Super Bowl LIV host committee member and Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said. "NFL football is the most relevant and most significant thing in this country."
City and county leaders have worked with the host committee to coordinate transportation, including an increased emphasis on ride hailing services. The last time the game was in Miami, those services didn't exist.
Some 10,000 people will serves as volunteers for Super Bowl LIV and events related to the game. Between 100,000 and 150,000 people are expected daily at the Super Bowl Experience fan event at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Fans aren't allowed to tailgate at Hard Rock Stadium before the Super Bowl, which the NFL has ordered to ease the access of 65,000 fans going in and out of the stadium on game day.
A spokesperson from the Miami International Airport said officials expect an additional 30,000 to 40,000 passengers daily during the week of the Super Bowl. An American Airlines spokesman said the company expects more than 47,000 passengers between Friday and Monday.
Despite Miami's experience with Super Bowl crowds, NFL planners will work on stadium operations until kickoff.
"I wouldn't ever say there is anything difficult about it," NFL senior director of event operations Eric Finkelstein said of planning a Super Bowl.
"It's a unique opportunity from year to year. No two stadiums are alike. No two cities are alike. Every year, you are dealing with different elements and different things you have to do to really have it all come together the right way."