TEXT OF INTERVIEW
MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Just three days until Super Bowl XLI, or if you're not into Roman numerals, Super Bowl 41. There are a lot of numbers — economic numbers — attached to this football game which pits the Indianapolis Colts against the Chicago Bears in Miami. Joining us to discuss some of those numbers is David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute. Welcome.
DAVID CARTER: Good morning.
THOMAS: Ad revenue, ticket revenue, viewership, all the people watching all those ads that everyone's going to be talking about — which number tells us the most about the popularity of the Super Bowl.
CARTER: I think it's the forecast of 140 million viewers because out of that now come these ad rates that we're seeing that are $2.5 million for a single Super Bowl spot. I think that is one of the standard bearers throughout sports that people really take a look at. How many people are tuning in? And it's not just the amount of people who are tuning in, it's the breadth of that audience. For example, you've got a company like Revlon who now is going to be purchasing and airing its first-ever Super Bowl ad regarding a new product they have coming out and they're using Sheryl Crow to help communicate that. You wouldn't necessarily think that would be perfect for a traditional sports match-up on television but again broad audience is 140 million-strong and out of that comes this unbelievable event that you really do have to tune in for on Sunday afternoon.
THOMAS: There's been some debate over the value of playing host to the Super Bowl. What's that about?
CARTER: Well the debate comes from dueling economists who've been brought in to either support or refute the economic impact of the big game and not surprisingly the estimates of economic impact are all over the board. But really at the core it gets to how much of the spending that's taking place down there is merely a redirecting of spending and how much of it is new incremental spending that's coming into Miami. And so these economists get out there and debate the numbers and you see ranges from maybe and you see ranges from maybe $150 to $350 or $400 million in economic impact for Miami and the surrounding communities.
THOMAS: What's the value of the game beyond that area?
CARTER: Well I think it's immense. It starts for me with the gambling industry and gaming, whether it's the legal or illegal gambling that's taking place domestically or offshore — or even the office pools. I mean, again, I think we've talked about is during March Madness: You have to be almost a social outcast to not be part of an office pool
THOMAS: I must be one of those, because I'm not part of a pool
CARTER: Me neither, we'll have to put one together before I leave this morning. I think that's a big part of it because, in fact, the NFL is the one sport where gambling really is integral to driving fan interest and I think the league and the advertisers and those that broadcast the games really understand that. But it's even more than that. We've also been watching the evolution of the secondary ticketing market, so you've got some ticketers that are making a lot of money off these tickets, the face value of which is either $600 or $700, hospitality firms, travel firms are doing really well. And you know out this way in California, you could probably argue that you've got the avocado growers and the guacamole producers that are having a great week. Heck, I mean who knows, maybe even crime'll be down for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. So I think a lot of people end up benefiting and having a great time because of this game.
THOMAS: David Carter is the executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute.