ARLINGTON — North Texas hotels were enjoying the calm before the Super Bowl storm ahead of a mad reservation rush expected on Sunday after the two teams that will play in the big game are determined.
Hotels up to an hour away from Cowboys Stadium are already sold out for Super Bowl weekend, but News 8 has found hundreds of rooms still available — in the heart of Arlington.
The host city is now trying to make sure that arriving football fans don't overlook the obvious.
The Rice family's visit to Arlington is ending days before Super Bowl XLV. They'll be avoiding the crowds... and the expense.
Their $77-a-night room rate at the Arlington La Quinta Inn zooms to $550 in the days before the NFL championship game.
This La Quinta is one of several hotels across the host city that still has dozens of empty rooms for Super Bowl fans.
"A lot of people think no way will there be a room available in Arlington, but there actually is," said Jay Burress of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. "You've got to act quickly."
With the game attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to North Texas, hotels across the region as far away as McKinney sold out weeks ago.
"We're totally booked super bowl weekend," said Don Day, manager of a McKinney hotel. "We're taking no more reservations."
Online, even modest homes are being snapped up for visitors. "What we've heard from brokers is a lot of vacation homes are being leased," said Tony Fay of the Super Bowl Host Committee.
Yet in Arlington, about 1,000 rooms within view of Cowboys Stadium — nearly one-fifth of the city's hotel inventory — are still available.
The city, keen to maximize every tourist dollar, has launched a Web site and a toll-free number to find rooms for visitors.
"We all want to capitalize on this great opportunity," Burress said. "It's our first Super Bowl, and we want to make sure the city is full, restaurants are full, and the hotels are full."
Burress said the cheapest room in Arlington is about $200 a night, and most hotels are requiring at least a three-night stay.
He expects those beds to go very quickly once the Super Bowl teams are decided on Sunday.