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Super Bowl parties rock Florida while blizzard hits East Coast

Snow plows remove snow from a road in Fairfax, Va. Forecasters anticipate between 22" and 30" in this storm.
Snow plows remove snow from a road in Fairfax, Va. Forecasters anticipate between 22" and 30" in this storm. Luis M. Alvarez / AP

This is what a pared-down Super Bowl looks like:

An electric pink tent behind the Fontainebleau to shelter a guest list of 1,200.

The Black Eyed Peas and Playboy bunnies entertaining media executives at the Sagamore.

A yacht in Fort Lauderdale decked out in a giant Reebok banner for a weekend of private parties.

Even as Corporate America cuts what it spends entertaining clients and executives during Super Bowl week, the dollars continue to gush.

And some industry executives say this Super Bowl offers more hints that companies have turned a corner in their retreat from pricey getaways in vacation spots like South Florida.

``I'm out of furniture -- I'm shipping it down from Orlando,'' said Hal Etkin, CEO of ME Productions.

A private jet line hired the Pembroke Park company to create a posh lounge inside an Opa-locka airport hangar this weekend to entertain clients flying in for Super Bowl, a contract Etkin said adds to an encouraging year for corporate business.

``It's definitely turning around,'' Etkin said.

Robert Tuchman, head of the corporate division for Premiere Global Sports, said corporate ticket sales are down about 25 percent from 2007, the last time the Super Bowl was in South Florida. But the key statistic for him is that corporate sales jumped as much as 60 percent from last year's game in Tampa, months after the 2008 stock market crash.

``A lot of companies pulled out [in 2008] just because of perceptions. They were doing well,'' Tuchman said. ``The good thing is we've seen a lot of Fortune 500 companies come back and do some entertaining.''

BIGGER SCENE

For Tampa's Super Bowl, Jim Beam held a small tailgate party for local bar owners, distributors and other clients.

In Miami, the bourbon maker will take over the posh Wish restaurant on Ocean Drive Saturday and transform it into a ``man cave'' where guests (male and female) can play arcade games and loaf on recliners. The daytime promotion will close to the public in the evening, when Jim Beam will bring in about 60 invited guests.

Most talk of a rebound on the party circuit centers around Playboy, which had eliminated its Super Bowl bash last year.

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