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Super Bowl Bucks

Well, how about that game?

Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs!  However, our hearts go out to all those affected by the violence that occurred.  Some form of rational gun control is needed in this country. 

Super Bowl LVIII was the most watched American broadcast since the 1969 moon landing, with an average of 123.4 million US viewers.  As many as 202.4 million viewers watched at least part of the game, where the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in overtime.

I am not here to discuss the game itself, although it was certainly a nail-biter!  This is a financial and accounting newsletter, not a sports newsletter.  What is interesting to me is the economic impact surrounding the game, its effect on a multitude of different industries inside and outside of the host city.

The logistics of setting up the Super Bowl are staggering, and affect a wide array of industries.  Stadiums need to be maintained or built, teams need to be transported, housed, fed and outfitted in uniforms.  The tourists coming in to watch the game also have to be transported, housed, and fed, and outfitted with whatever merchandise the teams can sell.  The music industry is also affected, with the halftime performer generating sales, streams, and interest.  The marketing and advertising industries put together the most anticipated commercials a year, and TV broadcasters and streamers work to show it all.

Is hosting the Super Bowl worth it?  It depends.  Estimates show that the Super Bowl probably makes between $300 million and $1.3 billion a year, but most of that money goes directly to the NFL from ticket and merchandise sales, while the broadcasters profit from the ad revenue.  But for cities, there are a number of increased expenses, including infrastructure and security.  The 2015 Super Bowl, for example, cost Glendale Arizona anywhere from $579,000 to $1.2 million.  And while the hospitality industry will benefit from all those tourists, a lot of that money goes to national hotel chains and other businesses outside of the city itself.

However, the Super Bowl is great for small businesses, such as local restaurants and stores who can serve the influx as tourists, and also provides those businesses with valuable contacts and networking opportunities.  The Super Bowl allows cities to showcase themselves as tourist destinations and hopefully increase tourism year round.

So far, it looks like Las Vegas has greatly benefited from hosting the 2024 Super Bowl.  Las Vegas was predicted to bring in almost 1 Billion dollars from the Super Bowl, and projections say it may bring in even more than that.

Then, of course, there are the taxes.  Nevada has no state income tax, so this year the players should not have to pay payroll taxes, but that may be something next year’s Super Bowl players will have to consider when they play in New Orleans, since Louisiana does have an income tax.

It wouldn’t be a complete discussion of the Super Bowl’s impact without mentioning Taylor Swift, who attended to watch her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, play for the Chiefs.  It is unknown just how much Taylor Swift boosted the viewership of the game, but one poll suggests that 20% of the viewers were rooting for the Chiefs because of Swift’s relationship.  The logistics of Taylor Swift’s attendance drummed up a lot of interest online, as the singer had to fly overnight from Japan, where she was touring at the time, in a private jet.  Taylor Swift’s frequent private jet usage has come under scrutiny lately, with one X account tracking each time she uses it, and this has spotlighted the use of private jets by the ultra-wealthy overall.  Over 800 private jets were used to attend the Super Bowl, raising serious concerns about the CO2 emissions.  Although the economic impact of the Super Bowl has been beneficial, people online are asking: what is the environmental impact?  And is it worth it?

People will likely grapple with these questions for years to come, and perhaps we can figure out a way to get the economic boon of events like the Super Bowl while being sustainable as well.  But for now, Las Vegas is enjoying its increased revenue, as well as its increased exposure as a tourist destination.