Is Hosting The Super Bowl Worth It?

Feb 4, 2012
Originally published on May 22, 2012 9:11 am

This is what it's like to host the Super Bowl: For one weekend, your city is the focus of the sporting universe. Fans flock in droves. They eat at your restaurants and sleep in your hotels. They buy the "I ♥ [your city]" t-shirts.

The NFL estimates that hosting the country's premier sporting event will give the local economy a $300-500 million jolt.

Economist Victor Matheson of the College of Holy Cross doesn't buy it.

In today's podcast, co-hosted from Indianapolis by NPR's Mike Pesca, Matheson presents the case against hosting the Super Bowl.

He argues hosting the Super Bowl pushes out the economic activities that occur on normal, non-Super Bowl hosting weekends. No conventions are held. Museums are closed. Local residents do not come downtown simply because it's too crowded.

What's more, Matheson says, the majority of the money that's shelled out by out-of-towners does not even stay in the city. It flows to the big, national hotel companies and restaurant chains.

"More money than average is being spent in hotels and restaurants, but is then immediately leaving have lots of dollars changing hands but it's really money being sucked out of people's hands and disappearing, rather than money that goes to build the local economy or repay a big stadium subsidy."

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