New York gets Super Bowl, promised rain of money, snowballs

In case you missed it, the NFL awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to the new New York Jets and Giants stadium on Tuesday night, setting off a media frenzy in the capital of what’s left of the news media. For sheer hype, you’ll of course want to turn to the New York Post, which asserted, among other things:

The Super Bowl could pump $500 million into the metro-New York economy, according to some estimates.

The vote was a clear nod of appreciation to the Giants and Jets for building a state-of-the-art, 82,500-seat stadium without having tapped public funds.

Errrr, it was certainly a reward for building a new stadium, which is what the NFL does to get these things built. But “without having tapped public funds” isn’t exactly true, given that the stadium got free state land and property tax breaks — and in any case, since when does the NFL want to reward its teams for putting up more of their own money and extorting less from taxpayers?

On the subject of that $500 million for the “local economy,” meanwhile, ESPN’s Peter Keating talks to some economists who say it’s a load of crap:

In 1999, for example, Phil Porter of the University of South Florida, looked at six Super Bowls at three different venues and concluded there was “no measurable impact on spending.” In 2006, Robert Baade of Lake Forest College and Victor Matheson of the College of the Holy Cross found that on average, Super Bowls generate about one-fourth of the impact projected by the NFL, and that two cities — Atlanta in 2000 and Tampa in 2001 — actually lost money on the game.

I’ve talked to Porter frequently, so I know there’s one caveat to these figures: He looked at warm-weather sites, and needless to say, hotel rooms in New York in February are slightly less packed to the gills than they are in Miami. Still, there’s likely to be some crowding out of other visitors for the Super Bowl — New York is pretty hopping with tourists at all times of year — and Matheson’s point holds true that “the magnitude of the economic impact would depend a lot on how willing fans were to get away from the game and spend money on things like Broadway shows.”

Meanwhile, other outlets focused on different angles, with Bloomberg News noting that the announcement means the teams could get more money for naming rights to the stadium (which New Jersey gave up its stake in, you’ll recall, as part of the final stadium deal), while the New York Times notes that it snows in New York in February, and fans might throw snowballs. Which is probably the weakest attempt of the day to find a Super Bowl-related excuse to rehash an old news story rattling around the archives, but at least it beats printing economic misinformation.


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