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  • Writer's pictureKaitlin Dandini

A dive into the economics, risk, and reward involved in hosting the Super Bowl

By: Kaitlin Dandini

Jan. 29, 2023

Photo Credit: Associated Press

The countdown to Super Bowl LVII has begun. Fans and teams alike are waiting in anticipation for one of the most watched sporting events of the year, and Arizona is gearing up to host the festivities.

Arizona, who has hosted the game three times before, is well prepared to host once again. Super Bowl LVII will be the third time the game has been at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals.

Not only is the Super Bowl one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, it is also one of the highest paying. Teams, networks, and cities alike all stand to gain a huge payday from this event. Business Insider reports that nation-wide spending from fans totals to $13.9 billion.

For the host cities, the Super Bowl is a pay-to-play endeavor. While there is the opportunity for a high payday, in many cases it is not as large as one might think. The preparation for the Super Bowl incurs numerous costs for the city.

An article from the Scottsdale Progress reveals that hosting the game is going to cost Scottsdale over $2.3 Million. The city has budgeted $1 Million for additional police and staffing for the game. Another $1 million has been invested in beautification efforts like painting the facilities, furniture for the site, landscaping, repairs, and more. The city’s financial sponsorship of the game accounts for the remaining $300,00 in expenses.

The NFL advertises that host cities can earn as much as $500 Million from hosting the game, but economists argue that these figures are not entirely accurate. There is no doubt that cities gain traction and revenue from hosting the superbowl. Increased tourism leading to spending on hotels, restaurants, and more are all alluring aspects of hosting the game. However, many economists argue that the Super Bowl doesn’t provide increased cash influx, it only rearranges the spending that was already taking place. The Super Bowl appears to be bringing in additional spending because most of the crowding during that time is associated with the game. In reality, the game is only accounting for a small increase in spending that could have occurred regularly within the city. The state of Arizona is all too familiar with this false promise of profit, as in 2008 they lost $1 Million dollars hosting Super Bowl XLII.

There continues to be debate amongst economists about whether hosting the Super Bowl is truly the jackpot it’s advertised to be, but there still remain clear benefits to hosting the games beyond monetary measures. Hosting the Super Bowl helps put cities on the map by providing it with viewership from a worldwide audience and increases civic pride for residents. The benefits are there, but so is the risk, and only time will tell if Phoenix is able to capitalize on these benefits.


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