Even though Super Bowl LIII won’t take place until 2019, people are already trying to predict the economic impact that the event will have on its official host city of Atlanta. Metro Atlanta Council (MAC) released a Q&A predicting that there will be about a $400 million impact on the city.
MAC said that it’s hard to predict the impact of such a large event, but they think $400 million is a conservative estimate based on other recent Super Bowls.
“Our projections are in line with what the most recent Super Bowl region, the San Francisco Bay Area, reported,” MAC noted. “In March, reports pinned its total economic impact at $350 million, driven in large part by hotel/motel, commercial and private airport revenues.”
One concern some people are having is whether the money will truly go to the city or will it be spread around the Atlanta area. According to MAC, the economic impact will be more than enough to give Atlanta and other cities all across Georgia an economic boost of some sort.
“Since Mercedes-Benz stadium will be located right in downtown, the majority of net revenue should benefit the City of Atlanta, Fulton County and the immediate surrounding counties such as DeKalb, Cobb, and Clayton etc.,” a recent press release explained. “The state as a whole will also benefit from taxation of the added income generated by the event, in addition to the added business and personal income taxes.”
As far as a particular industry is concerned, it seems like the hospitality industry (to no surprise) will be the big winner of Super Bowl LIII. If Atlanta turns out to be a great host city for the Super Bowl in 2019, it’s likely that those visiting for the big game could make a return to the city as tourists rather than game-goers. Even those who can’t make it out for the game might be impressed and amazed by what they see on national television, which would ultimately coax them out to the Peach State as well.
But before anyone gets too excited about the possible economic implications of the big game, some skeptics have already surfaced in hopes to keep everyone (and their grandiose expectations) a little more grounded. Tom Smith, a sports economist and finance professor at Emory University said that $400 million is probably too large of an estimate.
“I say pick whatever estimate and take about a tenth of that so maybe $40 million,” Smith said, as reported by Fox 5. “You will find a lot will go through the tourist industry, through hotels, restaurants, usually it is very concentrated around the city center.”
Smith said that the people who live in metro Atlanta are often left out of the calculations during predictions.
“Unfortunately, when a Super Bowl or when a big event comes to town, people who live in the city like to bug out,” Smith added. “As a result you could actually sort of have a neutral effect where the out of town money is canceled out by everybody in town who decides they are going to go to Cancun for the week.”
But MAC insists that they have accounted for the displacement of people in metro Atlanta. They said it may actually make room for more guests, which would ultimately mean more revenue. With sites like Air BnB and Homestay being more popular than ever, it certainly suggests that locals leaving the area may still be bringing in some revenue of their own by allowing Super Bowl guests to crash at their temporarily abandoned homes.
“Atlanta has a seasonal lull in hospitality around the time of the game, which should mitigate displacement,” MAC added in the press release. “The hotels will have greater occupancy and importantly, rent the rooms at higher rates than they otherwise could have.”
For Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, however, the impact the Super Bowl will ultimately have on the city can’t be measured in just dollars and cents. He believes this has to do with more than just making money.
“It’s the biggest single event probably the state of Georgia would have over a 10-year period, so it’s very impactful,” McKay said. “It’s impactful from a name recognition worldwide to an economic impact to everything else.”