Super Bowl LVII: How Arizona wins from hosting the big game
With Super Bowl LVII set to kick off on Sunday, Arizona is preparing for a major economic windfall from hosting the big game.
"Whoever takes the Lombardi Trophy — Arizona is going to come out on top," Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs said in an interview during the Waste Management Pheonix Open golf tournament, which is also happening this week in Phoenix.
Although Hobbs declined to pick a favorite team in Sunday's Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, she did point to the state's "great track record" with hosting global sporting attractions.
"We have 160,000 workers in our tourism and hospitality industry that are ready to welcome the visitors that are already here, making sure they have a great experience," Hobbs said. "That gets return visits and helps our economy."
Super Bowl highlights Arizona's tech hub
The Common Sense Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that analyzes Arizona's economy, estimated that Arizona brought in $719.4 million when it hosted Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. The organization also predicted that this year's big game will have an even greater economic impact.
In 2022, the Grand Canyon State's sports and tourism sector contributed $24.2 billion to Arizona's GDP, according to the report, while the hospitality sector generated $13.7 billion in direct sales for Arizona's hotels, casinos, and performance venues. This year's Super Bowl is expected to increase the state's economic output by more than 5%.
But beyond tourism and hospitality, Hobbs is hoping to highlight the state's booming tech sector.
Arizona has quickly established itself as one of the nation's premier tech hubs, bolstered by massive investments in semiconductor manufacturing — including multimillion-dollar chip manufacturing facilities being built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM) and Intel (INTC).
These tech manufacturing plants are significant for the state, offering the kind of high-tech engineering jobs that President Biden highlighted in his State of the Union Address earlier this week as well as indirect benefits for local construction and housing markets.
"A lot of the construction jobs that are here to build TSMC are going to out-of-state contractors, and we want to focus to make sure they're going to Arizonans," Hobbs said. "We are building the pipeline of those workers so they can get a good paying job without a college degree and that gives them benefits and lets them provide for their family."
Jack Selby, a venture capitalist and film producer, said the state's booming tech industry is what led him to launch AZ-VC, a $110 million venture capital firm, in the state.
"I'm a refugee from California from 20 years ago," said Selby, who was one of the early PayPal execs and currently manages Peter Thiel's family office. "I think proximity matters. People talk about moving to Austin or moving to Miami, and I think that's true to an extent. But if you can drive to Los Angeles or fly to the Bay Area in an hour and a half, that makes a big difference."
Hobbs and Selby agreed that major events such as the Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl help raise awareness for Arizona's attributes.
"Phoenix Open is the most attended golf event in the world," Selby said. "[We're] trying to use the attraction of the event as a way to shine the light on what we're trying to do here in the tech ecosystem. And then you throw on top of it the Super Bowl this week — it's the perfect combination."
Kevin Cirilli is a visiting media fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global China Hub and the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. Follow him on LinkedIn here.
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