All that fuss over the Super Bowl? All that Cold War era security downtown? It was supposed to make “us” money – right?
Not so much, according to the NYTimes:
Sports economists don’t view the situation quite the same way. They said the economic impact study for the Minneapolis Super Bowl began by saying all the right things about how past estimates had “been criticized as extremely overinflated, inaccurate, even purposely misrepresented.” In the end, though, it did the same thing.
“They always talk really good about that stuff, and then they go off the rails,” said Victor A. Matheson, a sports economist at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
Matheson has written extensively about the effect of Super Bowls. He has found that they usually generate anywhere from $30 million to $130 million in economic activity for the host city.
“Not nothing, and not what you would sneeze at,” he said, “but somewhere between a quarter and a tenth of what is being claimed.”
Take hotel rooms, for example. To host the Super Bowl, Minneapolis had to show that there were at least 24,000 of them within 60 minutes of the stadium, capable of accommodating visitors during the entire 10-day Super Bowl celebration. Accordingly, the economic impact report estimates the Super Bowl will generate 230,000 nights of hotel stays.
But if the Super Bowl were not in town, many of those hotel rooms would have been filled anyway, by business travelers, conventiongoers and — yes, even in Minnesota in the dead of winter — tourists. It is the net occupancy gain, not gross occupancy, that matters, said Frank Stephenson, an economist at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.
And on, and on.
Helga Braid Nation’s precious stadium – money extorted from taxpayers via the most base emotional manipulation this side of emotional domestic abuse, is a net wash, maybe, as of today – the peak of the stadiium’s public profile as of the first and last Super Bowl it will host.