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Super Bowl or Super (Hyper)Bole? Assessing the Economic Impact of America's Premier Sports Event

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Disciplines
  • Economics

Abstract

Civic boosters generally have estimated the Super Bowl to have an impact of $300 to $400 million on a host city’s economy. The National Football League (NFL) has used the promise of an economic windfall to convince skeptical cities that investments in new stadiums for their teams in exchange for the right to host the event makes economic sense. In fact the recent average public contribution for a new or renovated NFL stadium, $209 million, is less than the size of the economic impact estimates. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate booster claims. Statistical analysis reveals that, on average, the Super Bowl could not have contributed by any reasonable standard of statistical significance, more than $300 million to host economies. Indeed, the evidence indicates that at best the Super Bowl contributes approximately one-quarter of what the NFL promises.

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