Stateside

Back-to-normal watch

After two relatively subdued post-9/11 years, the festival of corporate excess known as the Super Bowl is its old self again.

Luxury suites at Reliant Stadium are selling for $175,000 on the Internet. Ticket brokers are charging fans $2,000 for a basic seat and $7,750 for a 50-yard line seat. For those who have them, tickets have a face value of $400 to $600.

Hotel rooms are available — 50 miles outside of town. Local steakhouses are booked from lunch until midnight. Hundreds of private jets are cleared to arrive in Houston this week, according to the NFL.

The corporate marketing fest is gearing up as well. Cadillac is flooding the streets with 400 vehicles for NFL VIPs and flying in partygoer Paris Hilton to schmooze with guests. Coors is co-hosting a giant party called Circus Maximus on a ranch. Budweiser, Nike, Pepsi, America Online and dozens of other NFL sponsors and non-sponsors are laying siege to the city.

There’s also a football game in there somewhere.

Coors Brewing Co. is co-sponsoring a tailgate party sprawling across a 16-block area in downtown Houston’s historic district, which is expected draw hundreds of thousands of fans over five days. The company is flying in its trademark “Coors Light Twins” — two blondes who appear on TV ads — to push the brand, and company spokesman Kid Rock will be performing during halftime. Coors Light, Sony Computer Entertainment, Dodge Trucks and Maxim magazine for young men are sponsoring the Circus Maximus three-ring party next Friday, where hundreds of celebrities, sports stars and corporate types will take over a large ranch outside Houston. Maxim is billing the event as “a twisted version of the classic western spectacle.”

I shudder to think what that will involve. But honestly: if we can’t have a Super Bowl with Paris Hilton and the Coors Light Twins, the bimbo-hating terrorists will have won.

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