He wasn’t thinking about renting his Arizona home. Then Rihanna came knocking.

By E.B. Solomont | Wall Street Journal

Spyro Malaspinas wasn’t looking to rent out his home for Super Bowl LVII in Arizona in February 2023. 

The 48-year-old cybersecurity expert initially balked at the idea of leasing his 6,400-square-foot, five-bedroom house on about an acre of land in Paradise Valley, an affluent town between Phoenix and Scottsdale, which he bought for $7.3 million in 2022. Then a property management firm he hired to manage a smaller investment property he owns called and offered Mr. Malaspinas a number that sent him packing. 

“The last thing I am is a real estate baron,” said Mr. Malaspinas. But, he said, “My pride’s not that big. I don’t mind moving out for $500,000 a week.” Mr. Malaspinas, who said the rental income for that week will cover his mortgage payments for two years, later learned his tenant was Rihanna. 

“My [13-year-old] daughter was absolutely thrilled,” he said. Rihanna didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

When celebrities, sports stars and titans of industry come to town for vacation—or in Rihanna’s case, to headline the Super Bowl halftime show—they are often willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars or more to stay at a private residence with more space, security and privacy than even the best five-star hotels. Finding properties that meet their criteria typically falls to travel coordinators and assistants, along with business managers and local real-estate agents who tap into closely held networks of clients with luxury homes. 


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