Phoenix will be rolling back open-container laws and decriminalizing public alcohol consumption in parts of downtown during the days leading up to the Super Bowl.
Local officials on Friday announced the designation of a nine-block area they’re calling an “open campus,” where adults can legally consume alcoholic beverages on public streets and sidewalks, according to the Arizona Republic. The paper reports it will be the largest special-event liquor license ever issued for the city’s downtown area.
Scottsdale, a small, largely affluent neighboring city in Maricopa County, is also dialing back its outdoor alcohol prohibitions in advance of the NFL's big game Feb. 1, when the Seattle Seahawks face off against the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium in Super Bowl XLIX. While revelers will not be allowed to carry open containers on the streets unencumbered, Scottsdale's main entertainment districts will both be closed to vehicle traffic, and the city has granted temporary permits to allow bars and nightclubs in the area to expand their outdoor serving areas, the Republic noted.
"It will be monstrous compared to anything else that's ever been downtown," Jeff Moloznik, vice president of development for RED, which operates CityScape Phoenix, a large retail and office center in the area, told the paper. "There's going to be more than ample opportunity for everyone to sample just about anything they want."
A similar limited-area rollback was announced in Indianapolis in 2012 when the city hosted the Super Bowl for the first time. The allowance of open containers was in effect for a week in that city. New Orleans, which hosted the game in 2013, does not have similar open-carry restrictions.
As part of the 2015 Super Bowl celebration, downtown Phoenix will be dubbed Super Bowl Central and the streets of Scottsdale will give way to the so-called Entertainment District Experience, which is expected to feature four days of partying and celebrity appearances, beginning early Thursday morning.
Super Bowl Central opens Wednesday, Jan. 28, and will sprawl over 12 blocks in the city's center. It is expected by local officials to draw an estimated 1 million fans with free concerts, interactive games, beer gardens and a nightly fireworks show starting next week. The area's feature attraction will be a massive 30-by-100-foot rock-climbing wall known as the Grand Canyon Experience. The wall is textured like sandstone and includes a waterfall.
Authorities in the city announced they will begin closing streets in the nation's sixth-most-populous city on Tuesday in anticipation of the event. Some offices in the area will offer flex scheduling or allow employees to work elsewhere, according to the Arizona Republic, while others will operate as normal.