The Super Bowl: Or, What's In It For Me?

Categories: Sports

We're big fans of Craig Depken's from way back, when, last June, we pushed his paper Mega-Events: Is the Texas-Baylor game to Waco what the Super Bowl is to Houston?, which the University of Texas at Arlington sports economics prof penned with his University of Baltimore associate Dennis Coates. Another Depken brief we've kept bookmarked is this one from 2003: What is the Economic Impact of Hosting a Super Bowl?. Seemed like as good a time as any to whip this out.

In short, Depken and fellow UTA sports economist Dennis Wilson figured, based on their research and that of others, that "the net impacts of the Super Bowl generally range from $21 million to $32 million," or about a 10th of what cities predict (and promise) in the months and years leading up to the event.

So, yeah, North Texas will make some money off the deal, just not as much as everyone thinks -- because, like, yeah, hotels around town might be full up come Super Bowl XLV, but it's not as though they were going to be completely empty in February 2011. And some of that scratch that Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth and points in between haul in that week doesn't all stay in the metroplex:

For example, it is unlikely that the majority of revenue increases at a company-owned Marriott or Holiday Inn will remain and be re-spent in the local economy. Much of the revenue increases may be transferred to a parent company in another city, state, or country.

That said, it isn't all about the money, right? Ever hear of a little thing called pride? (If so, what is it like to have some? Because we hear it's awesome.)
There may be intangible or hard-to-measure impacts of hosting the Super Bowl. Hosting the game offers a unique promotional opportunity for local tourism and convention industries. Since the Super Bowl attracts many high level corporate executives, there are potential economic gains if executives wish to return to the city for conventions, retreats, or corporate relocations. Additionally, increased tourism may be a legacy of hosting a Super Bowl.

So, look out, Palace of Wax. All I'm sayin'. --Robert Wilonsky


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