Anytime Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens are in the same town, there’s bound to be a party.
Put them poolside in South Beach, surround them with bikini-clad women, blaring music and cocktails, and you’ve got a wild afternoon.
”It feels great. Anything I can do to get out of that cold in Buffalo, it’s great,” Owens said Wednesday during his party at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel.
But don’t expect to see T.O. at the big game this weekend.
”The only time I would attend a Super Bowl would be if I am in it,” the Bills receiver said.
There will be more celebrity-studded fun as Rihanna, Timbaland, Jennifer Lopez, Usher and Kim Kardashian perform in concerts or host parties over the next days.
”It’s always been a party here,” said Princess Adams, a New Yorker, who came to Miami to vacation with her husband and three girl friends.
She was tanning on the beach Wednesday on Ocean Drive, which will be closed to cars from Thursday to Monday morning. The finishing touches were also being put on ”Champions Arch,” a sculpture of two arches holding up a huge football. It is made of recycled steel placed over the street.
A man walked by with a ”I Need Tickets” sign hanging off his neck. Another man rode a bicycle with a big sign ”Super Bowl tickets wanted. Top Dollar Paid.”
Fans on the beach watched a flag football game with former NFL players and Latino celebrities.
But the real parties are behind the doors of famed South Beach hotels such as the Delano, the Shore Club and the renovated Fontainebleau.
At the Delano’s The Florida Room, entertainment includes Wyclef Jean in a live performance Friday and Snoop Dogg on Saturday.
Maggie Godet, 27, from Miami, who was an invited guest at the Owens bash, said the parties were a good thing for the city.
”Anything that brings this much entertainment and energy to Miami is exciting,” she said.
Mabel De Beunza, the Fontainebleau’s public relations director, said this is one of the highest revenue weekends for the hotel. People come to Miami because of the weather and beautiful people, she said.
”It’s almost a bigger experience than being at the Super Bowl,” she said.
Some smaller businesses were also hoping to cash in on the weekend.
Omer Goc, who works at Cafe South Beach, just off Ocean Drive, said business has been slow.
”We were supposed to be busy now. We’re not,” he said.
Back at the beach, Miami native Brian Wilson said he is looking forward to this weekend.
”This will be one of biggest and best weekends of the year to be in Miami,” he said.
On Sunday he will be throwing a party at home. He didn’t even try to buy tickets to see the game. It’s out of his price range.
A few feet away, Bonnie Pick, 53, from Chicago, is going to party at home, too. She wasn’t upset the beach was filled with workers putting up and tearing down stages for events.
”It’s fun to see there is business for the area and the community,” she said.
Meanwhile, some fans complained of the lack of parking and accessibility to the players and to the game itself.
Michael Harrison, from Fairfield, Calif., has been in Miami for over a week. He said he couldn’t find Pro Bowl merchandise because the Super Bowl was so hyped.
”It’s not fan friendly,” he said. ”The kids in the inner cities cannot afford to get out here … The city is beautiful, but as far as for being out here for Pro Bowl, it wasn’t that great.”
Back at the Shore Club pool, which will host a party every night for the next four nights, Belen Edwards from Buenos Aires, Argentina, said she was thinking of leaving early after finding out her room rate would double on Friday night.
”We don’t even know what’s the Super Bowl,” she said.