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Mar. 21, 2014 11:15 am

Why is Airbnb offering a ‘Live Like McNulty’ contest?

According to the deal now listed on Airbnb, the contest is for Xfinity "Watchathon Week." And with "all expenses paid," this is your chance "to stake out like Detective Jimmy McNulty for Watchathon Week, and let the sound of police sirens lull you to sleep."

What?

Ever wondered what it would be like to live like one of the characters from “The Wire”?

If you’re into flippant stereotyping masquerading as a fun experience, then Comcast’s Xfinity and room-renting startup Airbnb have a deal for you.

According to the deal now listed on Airbnb, the contest is for Xfinity “Watchathon Week.” And with “all expenses paid,” this is your chance “to stake out like Detective Jimmy McNulty for Watchathon Week, and let the sound of police sirens lull you to sleep.” (Hat-tip to Baltimore City Paper for spotting this.)

Here’s, arguably, the point of this contest:

XFINITY will fly one lucky winner and a friend to Baltimore from March 31 to April 4 to binge-watch full seasons of TV’s hottest shows, all for free. All entries will be reviewed, and the winner will be notified on March 25.

As City Paper rightly points out, the zip code to the address advertised (“West Preston Street”) puts someone in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, hardly a parallel to the image of several vacant properties being used to advertise the contest. (Not to mention that living like Detective Jimmy McNulty means fighting bouts of alcoholism.)

In case Xfinity and Airbnb are wondering, Baltimore city has more than 16,000 vacant properties. It’s a problem the city is working to solve — not a marketing ploy.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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