Estimating the actual economic impact of the Super Bowl is about as easy as leading a 90-yard scoring drive in the final minute of the game.
Some estimates for how much the big game next weekend will mean for the economy in the Miami area, which is hosting Super Bowl LIV, are around $500 million, more than double that of other recent Super Bowls, although many economists say such estimates tend to inflate the actual impact, sometimes as much as ten-fold.
There are lots of questions about the economics of hosting a Super Bowl and plenty of critics of the accounting.
Even when the Super Bowl isn’t in Miami in early February, South Florida remains a popular place for tourists.
— WLRN Public Media (@WLRN) January 28, 2019
Economists every year knock holes in overinflated estimates of economic impact of big local events like the Super Bowl, saying that many of the people spending money on the event are displacing other people who would be spending money if there wasn't an event, that much of the money leaks outside of the region to corporate owners of hotel and restaurant chains.
Super Bowl's Impact On Productivity
In the case of South Florida, which will host Sunday's matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, the benefit is at least partly offset by a cost to taxpayers that the Miami Herald has estimated will hit $20 million.
And then there's the impact on the economy from a drop in productivity the day after the Super Bowl. It's likely to be a heavily-watched Super Bowl because of New England Patriots fatigue -- Tom Brady and the Patriots won't be there this year after playing in four of the last six.
Executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. estimates this year's Super Bowl could cost employers over $5.1 billion in lost productivity in the week leading up to the game, as well as from employees missing work on Monday.
The firm cited a survey by The Workforce Institute at Kronos that found that 17.5 million Americans are likely not going to work on the Monday after the Super Bowl this year. That's the highest number since the company began tracking that question in 2005. It also found 11.1 million Americans say they'll come in late to work or leave early on the Monday after the Super Bowl.
Challenger said if 17.5 million workers miss a normal day of work on Monday, it would cost the country $3.4 billion in lost productivity. Add the 11.1 million workers coming in an hour late or leaving and the figure increases to $3.7 billion.
Past Super Bowls
Last year, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce estimated people in the Atlanta area (visitors and residents) would spend about $400 million extra because of the Super Bowl, though other estimates pegged it at about half that amount.
A year earlier, officials in the Twin Cities estimated Super Bowl LII brought in an extra $370 million to the Minneapolis area.
The former mayor of Minneapolis was happy to have the Super Bowl. But he did not mince words about the NFL https://t.co/brrSj1dCjy
— Rob Wile (@rjwile) January 22, 2020
That's slightly more than the $350 million boosters said Super Bowl LI was worth to Houston. Super Bowl 50 was reportedly worth about $240 million to the San Francisco area.
Texas Monthly Magazine tried to put that amount into some perspective, however, noting if the Super Bowl did bring in $350 million extra in spending, it was still less than the Houston 2010 Show and Rodeo, which claimed to have boosted spending in the area by nearly $500 million.
For additional perspective, Georgia State University economics professor Bruce Seaman, who estimated Atlanta's Super Bowl last year boosted spending by about $200 million, noted that would be about 0.05% of that metro's annual gross domestic product.
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