Super Bowl brings added revenue, but likely not an ‘economic game-changer’
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Thousands of people came to the Valley to watch Super Bowl LVII or check out some of the many events that popped up around the area. All of those people spent money in the state, leaving behind an economic splash. But just how much remains to be seen.
Before the Super Bowl, economists and organizations said the impact could be as high as a billion dollars. The fact that the game brought extra money to town is an undeniable fact, but will it be an economic game-changer? Numbers examined by Arizona’s Family Investigates show the answer is probably not.
“The Super Bowl is the biggest sports event on the U.S. calendar,” Anthony Evans, a senior research fellow at the Seidman Research Institute, said. “For seven to ten days, we are going to be inundated with TV celebrities, Hollywood superstars, people from music.”
Evans is collecting the numbers and says they are going to be big. “You’re talking about car tax, gas tax, hotel bedroom tax and obviously the transactional privilege tax or sales tax,” he said.
To get a sense of how this year’s numbers might look, Arizona’s Family Investigates looked at state sales tax figures from 1998 to 2022, including the last two times the Super Bowl was hosted in Glendale in 2008 and 2015. When examining statewide net taxable sales, figures during the Super Bowl years of 2008 and 2015 were not drastically different than non-Super Bowl years.
In 2015, the last time Arizona hosted the Super Bowl, the months of January and February did see big increases in sales tax revenue over the prior year. Still, the state also saw big increases in those months every year after that until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the economy.
“You know the Super Bowl is a big deal on TV and it’s a big deal for football fans. For an economy, not so much,” Neil deMause said. deMause’s website, ‘Field of Schemes,’ routinely criticizes inflated claims of the impact of pro sports on local economies. “It’s probably in the low tens of millions rather than the hundreds of millions of dollars, and there’s awfully good data to support that,” deMause said.
Evans said the splash felt in Arizona may not be as noticeable as in other states, like New York or other cold-weather states. “This is a four or five-day event out of a 365-day year,” Evans said. “Nine months of the year, this is a great place to visit. It’s not going to show up as much as it might do if you were in a cold state whereby you’ve got to have the roof closed to actually host Super Bowl this weekend.”
Sales tax data typically lags in reporting, so the economic benefit of February might not be known for a few months.
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