What’s the impact of a Super Bowl, economically speaking?

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Notes from our researcher, Steve Triolet
There’s been plenty of debate going on over the years about how much a city gains in economic growth by winning the golden ticket to host a Super Bowl. The figures are painted with a broad brush and vary significantly whether they are quoted by The NFL, an accounting firm or an economist.

The NFL claims $400 million was the magic number back in 2007 for Miami, and Arizona scratched off a $500 million lotto ticket in 2008. Keep in mind though; times were good back in ’07 and ’08. Really good (or so we thought).

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates the 2010 game totaled out at $153 million in gained economic growth for South Florida; dropping their estimate from their 2007 figure, which they estimate brought in $195 million. Why the $42 million dollar difference? Well, we are in a recession after all.  

Some economists are arguing that the impact is much lower still.  Victor Matheson, a Holy Cross economics professor—who co-authored a study back in 2006 about this very topic—estimated that the absolute highest economic impact was around $90 million; with the low-end impact estimate falling in the $30-40 million range.  

Regardless of which number sounds right to you, there’s no doubt that hosting the big game brings in the big bucks. It’s no wonder Jerry Jones built the new Cowboy’s stadium this past year in order to bring North Texas into the spotlight. Was the $40 million TV worth it? Well, we’ll let you decide.

As our conversation progresses over the next year, we will delve deeper into the numbers to see what assumptions are behind this data.  The burning question is how will North Texas stack up? After all, Super Bowl XLV is projecting 30,000 more fans will pile into the Dallas-Fort Worth area next year than Miami saw the weekend of February 7, 2010. As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. Let’s hope that holds true for the value we realize this coming year.

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