ATLANTA — The region and state of Georgia is elated that they are going to host Super Bowl 53 in 2019.
Right away, armchair economists and pseudo numbers crunchers imagined a vast economic boon to the metro Atlanta area.
It is not going to work out that way. Not even close, testifies an Emory Goizueta Business School expert.
“I’ve seen estimates that the game could bring as much as $400 million or $800 million into the local economy,” said Dr. Michael Smith to Patch.com. “But let’s bring that figure into a much more realistic orbit. I think its going to be around $40 million, and a lot of that has to do with where the money comes from.”
Smith said any economic benefit will be derived from out-of-towners who spend money at venues like a Super Bowl village, an amenity that Atlanta created for its 2013 Final 4 NCAA Basketball Tournament.
“The city did an awesome job for its Final 4,” Smith said. “It’s one thing to get people who are not from here, to spend money here. But if it’s just us, going out and spending money at a Super Bowl village instead of going to the movies or going bowling, that doesn’t do the regional economy any good. It’s just a transfer of wealth, and we really want this event to have a more far-reaching impact.”
Very interesting point that most casual observers, restaurant proprietors and members of the hospitality industry probably did not factor in. If tens of millions of dollars is spent at the Super Bowl village, then that money will be funneled back to the NFL, not the city of Atlanta nor the state of Georgia.
Super Bowl 53 will be played at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2019. Atlanta won the bid for the game on the fourth ballot by outlasting New Orleans. Tampa and Miami were eliminated during the early rounds, and the fourth round came down to between Atlanta and New Orleans.
Smith says the game’s indirect impact is much more interesting, over the long term.
“Getting the Super Bowl with a new stadium is a good selling point when the mayor or governor or the chamber of commerce tries to convince people that Atlanta isn’t some hick Southern town,” he said. “The region still has that image.
“What I tell people is, Atlanta isn’t in the South. You can get to the South from Atlanta, but we’re not in the South. Getting the Super Bowl gives people who are trying to portray Atlanta as a great place to live and work, some legitimacy in their efforts.”