The Super Bowl LII success story was burnished Tuesday with a post-event economic impact analysis that produced an eye-popping bottom line: The Feb. 4 NFL championship game in Minneapolis and the two weeks of hoopla that preceded it brought this region an estimated $400 million economic gain, built on $370 million in new net spending.
Those numbers are bound to be met with skepticism, coming from a private firm, Rockport Analytics, commissioned by the local host committee. But the Rockport study also should whet this region’s appetite to keep playing the big-event game. It affirms the sense that grew during Super Bowl LII that hosting major civic and sporting events is something Minnesota knows how to do profitably and well.
The post-event report tallied the local economic impact of 125,000 Super Bowl-related visitors (from at least 50 miles away or spending at least one night in a hotel) minus displaced visitors who would have been in the Twin Cities without a Super Bowl. It then added $179 million in broadcast and event-hosting expenditures — a larger figure than anticipated before the event, perhaps inflated by the exigencies associated with early February’s cold weather.
Awareness of those additional costs may be a strike against this region in the eyes of national event planners. But for Minnesota, those additional costs had an upside. Kenneth McGill of Rockport explained at a State Capitol news conference that the diversity of the Twin Cities economy allowed for a larger-than-usual share of purchases to be made from local suppliers of goods and services. The result, he said, is that 88 cents of every dollar spent in connection with Super Bowl LII remained and recirculated in Minnesota.
That tells us that Minnesota is well-positioned to gain from hosting big events — and that investing more time, talent and money in that pursuit has the potential for a high rate of return. Beginning just days after Super Bowl LII ended, an Itasca Project task force began examining possible strategies for increasing this region’s big-events investment. Rockport’s Super Bowl LII analysis should build interest in the task force’s work, as well as enthusiasm for the region’s next big draw, the 2019 NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis, April 6-8.