SAN FRANCISCO — NFL fans looking for lodging during Super Bowl L in San Francisco may find that their best bet is a room behind bars. To land the Bay Area’s first Super Bowl since 1985, the San Francisco Super Bowl Host Committee promised to set aside 22,000 hotel rooms for the NFL’s flagship event, but in case that’s not enough, they’ve asked the Fremont Police Detention Facility to join them in welcoming unruly fans and players to the City by the Bay.
Fremont Police drew the committee’s attention last week when they debuted a new “Pay-to-Stay” program at their Alameda County prison. For a one-time fee of $45 plus $155 a night, inmates can enjoy a smaller, quieter, and more comfortable incarceration away from the bustling county jails in Oakland and Dublin.
The 58-bed facility offers all the usual hotel amenities, such as towels, soap, and even toothpaste. There’s also a community area with games and a flat-screen television, so inmates won’t miss a second of the action.
“Everybody knows how much revenue a Super Bowl can inject into local communities, and our facility is conveniently located only fifteen miles from the new Levi’s Stadium,” said Lt. Mark Devine, the Fremont Police official in charge of the program. The facility has gone largely unused since being built in 2002 for over $10 million, but Lt. Devine thinks the Super Bowl will change that. “This is an exclusive deal with the NFL. If you want to stay at the premier detention facility during the big game, you have to come to Fremont.”
“This is a unique partnership for the NFL and its fans, and we’re excited to have the Fremont Police as part of our team,” said host chairman Daniel Lurie. “San Francisco is world famous for being an innovative city. Football fans who are sidelined for misdemeanors or DUI’s deserve to be comfortable while they’re being held accountable.”
While the ACLU has decried the program as offering a “jail for the rich,” the host committee says it’s all about giving fans an experience.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the partnership signals a change in strategy for the league, which has seen over thirty players arrested since February’s Super Bowl. “Instead of downplaying the growing number of players in trouble with the law, we’ve found a way to market a criminal lifestyle that many fans find intriguing,” said Goodell.
Lt. Devine added that although the Super Bowl isn’t until 2016, Fremont Police hope the boost in name recognition will spur an influx of inmates to last from now until well past the big game. “When you opt to pay to stay in our facility, you’re taking part in a one-of-a-kind fan experience. Plus, it’s only fifteen miles from new Levi’s Stadium. Who knows, you may even get to bunk next to one of your favorite players.”