Chicken wings: Is Super Bowl a super boost?
Wake up and good morning. The closer we inch towards the Big Game, Sunday's Super Bowl, the more we see the helmet-bangin' debates over the supposed economic bonanza heaped on the Super Bowl host city. Being in a jaw-dropping recession has toned down some of the Super Hype about our financial windfall here in the Tampa Bay area. But the pro-con grunting this week is certainly no less entertaining than the ad nauseum build-up to the Steelers-Cardinals clash. Let's get to it.
"Super Bowl or Super Sham?" asks a Tampa Bay10 report. It quotes Super Bowl Host Committee director Reid Sigmon saying that, altogether, the spending on Super Bowl XLIII is worth $300 million to our local economy. It also quotes our local Dr. Doom of sports economics, USF prof Phil Porter, who says economic impacts from Super Bowls are way overdone. He cites sales tax revenues from Hillsborough County that show there's little difference between years when we had a Super Bowl Sunday and years that just had Sundays.
On the national scene, St. Petersburg Times writer Eric Deggans quotes NBC Universal Sports chairman Dick Ebersol indicating that ad revenue from televising the Super Bowl will be a record, averaging just under $3-million per 30-second spot. But what will the ads say? New York Times advertising writer Stuart Elliott says Super Bowl advertisers are wary of running ads that ignore or make light of the hideous economic state of America.
Barron's weighs in with a straightforward rehash headlined "Are Sports Recession-Proof? Not Judging By Super Bowl Festivities" with this mention: Tampa should garner some $150 million from tourism, taxes and activities related to the Super Bowl, which is some 22 percent less than what the Phoenix suburb that hosted last year’s game managed to collect, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
The best micro-focused story comes from the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) "Super Blog", which looks at the state of the economy through the eyes of The Press Box, a sports bar on Tampa's Dale Mabry Highway that's seen a recent 20-percent drop in business. Seats for Sunday at The Press Box have been going for $20 a piece. But the real economic barometer is chicken wings, says manager Jason Loughrar:
“Having the game here makes a big difference, because people get a lot more excited about it. We’ll do 12,000 to 15,000 wings this Sunday.”
That’s up from last year when The Press Box did 7,000 wings, and from the 9,000 consumer the year before that. (Photo from AP.)
Finally, St. Pete Times retail reporter Mark Albright sheds light on how those Super Bowl Champion hats and T-shirts make it on to the field so quickly after the game. But here's the best tidbit:
"Officially, product makers have no favorite. Privately they root for the Steelers. That's because Steelers merchandise — like Green Bay, Chicago and the New York teams — built a national following that buys four times as much as Arizona Cardinals rooters."
Sunday can't come soon enough...
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist