Economic impact for Super Bowl host is short-term

Sean Bueter Feb 3, 2012

Adriene Hill: About 150,000 football fans are expected in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, and a lot of those visitors will have deep pockets. By some estimates, visitors will spend $150 million. It’s a nice short-term boost — but city officials are hoping the
game could have a longer-lasting economic impact.

From station WBOI in Indiana, Sean Bueter has our story.

Sean Bueter: It’s a quiet afternoon at The Place, a restaurant and bar on the north side of Indianapolis. In fact, it’s a little too quiet when you consider football fans are already mobbing the city’s attractions and jamming up downtown traffic. General manager Bill McCammon hopes the big boost will come this weekend.

Bill McCammon: I would say if we see anything in the midst of a 15 to 20 percent increase in population in here, that would be a pretty sizeable bump for a Super Bowl.

The Place has only been open a few months and is still settling into the community, so this weekend’s business will help.

But Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard is dreaming bigger. Ballard says this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring long-term growth to the city, because 65 percent of Super Bowl attendees are decision-makers in their businesses.

Greg Ballard: So when they’re looking at expanding their businesses or bringing conventions to town or something like that, Indianapolis will now have a bigger name across the world as a result of the Super Bowl.

Kyle Anderson: Companies make those decisions for a lot more reasons than ‘boy, it’s nice to have walked around here and spent three days here.’

That’s Indiana University economist Kyle Anderson. He says when he looks at previous Super Bowls, it’s tough to tell if host cities have seen any long-term economic growth.

Anderson: Nobody’s gone out and said ‘well, Detroit hosted the Super Bowl a couple years ago, and suddenly they got four big corporations moving to the Detroit area.’ That’s never really been tracked that way.

For his part, Bill McCammon at The Place says he’s optimistic about this weekend. He expects a lot of customers trying out his restaurant will be locals who don’t want the hassle of dining downtown near the Super Bowl village. And with a little luck, some of those first-timers might just turn into regulars.

In Indianapolis, I’m Sean Bueter for Marketplace.

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