The Super Bowl is one of the world’s most highly anticipated sports events in the world, with millions of eager fans tuning in to watch their favorite teams battle it out to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
So, it may come as no surprise to learn that the Super Bowl is one of the biggest earning and spending events of the entire year. From A-list musicians at the half-time show to huge commercial opportunities for brands to up their sales, the event has a huge revenue stream.
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Yet before kickoff, there’s an unseen battle that takes place that viewers aren’t privy to; which city will host the big game. This has become nearly as competitive as the game itself, with cities willing to bend over backward to claim the hosting honors.
Not only do they get bragging rights for hosting the game but the potential profit opportunities are immense, and potentially even life-changing for the city.
But does the hosting city benefit from holding the Super Bowl on home ground? If so, how much income does it generate for the city? Let’s dive in and find out!
How Are Super Bowl Host Cities Chosen?
In the past, the NFL would seek out and invite different cities to make a bid to become the host. Then, from the list of cities that applied, the options would be narrowed down to a handful of finalists.
These finalists would then be asked to submit their bid or presentation to become the Super Bowl host city.
The NFL now directly contacts the chosen venue and requests that they put together a suitable proposal, showing exactly why they are the most suitable host city for the event.
How Much Income Does A Super Bowl Weekend Generate?
This is a hard concept to generalize for every city. This is because the total revenue generated will vary depending on where the event takes place.
There is no doubt that host cities see a huge uptick in the number of hotel guests, dollars spent in local stores, and a huge increase in attendance at restaurants and bars all over the area.
According to the NFL, the usual economic take for any Super Bowl is somewhere in the range of $300 million and $500 million for any host region. Yet the reality is that these places will likely see an economic boost ranging from $30 million to around $150 million instead.
While this is still an impressive amount of money to earn in a single weekend, it is a far cry from many of the projected figures.
The huge difference between these figures is largely based on the astronomical costs splurged by the city to host the game. This takes a sizable chunk from any of the potential profits.
Financial Factors to Consider
The NFL has multiple revenue streams stemming from the Super Bowl regardless of where the event is hosted. For instance, companies will shell out millions of dollars for a single space of advertising, and eager fans will rush to get their hands on every piece of merchandise that they can.
Other costs associated with hosting the Super Bowl (pre-game) are as follows:
- Annual television rights paid by NBC, FOX, and CBS every year: approx. $3 billion
- Total revenue from ticket sales: a minimum of $65 million
- Expected total ad revenue paid to TV networks: $340 million
- 30-second advertising spots for TV networks: just over $5 million
- Money spent by individual fans: $90
- Nationwide fan spend for the Super Bowl: nearly $14 billion
There are also significant increases in music sales, television sales, and also in the popularity of food delivery services such as Domino’s Pizza or McDonald’s.
Warm-weather locations are also set to make more money from the Super Bowl than colder cities as visitors are a lot more likely to remain in the vicinity than just the weekend. A byproduct of this will be to spend more money, thus increasing the total amount of income that a host city generates during this weekend.
Not All That Glitters is Gold
The simple fact of the matter is that the estimates made by the NFL may be grossly overestimated. This means that the financial gain associated with hosting the Super Bowl may not be quite as extravagant as some host cities expect.
Because of this, some host cities have reported making no revenue at all. Some cities have even recorded losing money while hosting the Super Bowl!
For example, Arizona’s hosting responsibility in both 2005 and 2008 resulted in a significant financial loss on both occasions. Unfortunately, it does not end with Arizona.
When San Francisco hosted the Super Bowl in 2016, the total cost of transit and police services came to an eye-watering $5 million.
Is Hosting the Super Bowl Truly Worth It?
Again, this depends on multiple factors, and every situation is unique. Even if the host city does not generate the estimated $500 million that the NFL promises, there’s still an incredible opportunity to earn a massive financial increase for the area.
If a city has an existing stadium that accurately meets (or even exceeds) the NFL’s overall standard, it may help to offset a lot of the cost. After all, there is not a lot of value if a city must build a stadium worth $1 billion to host the event!
Hosting a Super Bowl is a brilliant way to naturally increase tourism in a specific city which, in turn, drives income to new heights. Fans will flock to the area, paying for food, drinks, accommodation, and transport – in addition to their expensive stadium tickets for the game.
Essentially, American football fans are enthusiastic and dedicated enough to be willing to spend as much money as is necessary to make the most out of their trip away.