Updated: Monday, 03 February 2014 05:00 | By Agence France-Presse

NFL Fans begin packing stadium for Super Bowl 48

Fans began taking their seats for Super Bowl 48 on Sunday more than four hours before the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks were set to begin their gridiron championship showdown.


NFL Fans begin packing stadium for Super Bowl 48

Fans gather at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on February 2, 2014 ahead of Superbowl 48 - by Timothy A. Clary

More than 79,000 spectators were set to fill the $1.7 billion MetLife Stadium, the regular-season home of the New York Jets and New York Giants, for the National Football League title game.

Cloudy skies and a brief misty rain greeted early arriving fans, most of whom wore jackets and hats in the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.

But fears of a blizzard or bitter cold did not come to pass. Temperatures near 44 degrees (6.6 Celsius) were expected for the evening kickoff and the game was expected to end before they fall to the level of the coldest-ever Super Bowl from 1972, an unusually chilly 39 degrees (3.8 C) in New Orleans.

Orange-clad Broncos supporters and Seattle's "12th Man", the notoriously loud fans from across the country wearing blue, were chanting cheers and serving notice early they would be screaming for their teams well into the night.

Every seat was adorned with a cushion that included a special hat for the half-time show and warmers that activate with a hard impact to provide thermal relief for cold spectators.

While there were 11,000 parking places sold for the game, security and television equipment took up much of the usual space around the stadium, prompting mass transit trains and buses to be used by an expected 30,000 people.

Delays began at the security entry areas as lengthy lines formed for inspections of people and bags for one of the major top-level US security events of every year.

Tall pillars with video screens and loudspeakers were in place to entertain fans as they waited, using music and highlights from the Broncos and Seahawks as well as provide facts about the game, such as this being the least popular US wedding weekend and more than 1.5 million televisions being sold in America in the week before the big game.

Warming stations found few takers thanks to moderate conditions, but such fan fun areas as an American football-themed obstacle course and a giant gridiron video game attracted long lines.

A walking vendor with $20 souvenir cups of hot chocolate in the shape of American footballs found few takers.

But lines were 20-people deep in food areas for $12 US beers and $14-16 for imports, $14 for Italian sausage, $16 for cheesesteaks, $18 for foot-long hot dogs, noodle bowls for $11 or $20 if you want the souvenir version, dumplings for $7, $11 for tacos or burritos and peanuts and bottled water for $6 each.

A special Food Network booth offered brisket sandwiches for $13 with macaroni and cheese for $8.

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