Study: Super Bowl 50 Brought $240 Million Boost to Bay Area Economy

An independent study of Super Bowl 50 has found that the Big Game and the events that surrounded it had a net positive economic impact on the Bay Area of at least $240 million.

“When our civic leaders fought to bring Super Bowl 50 to the Bay Area, they were confident that it would be a smart investment for our entire region,” said Daniel Lurie, Chair of the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. “With all said and done, we can definitively say that the investment paid off handsomely.”

The Super Bowl 50 Host Committee brought in third-party research firm Sportsimpacts to analyze spending and costs associated with Super Bowl 50 before, during, and after the Big Game. The research firm has previously conducted post-event studies for Super Bowl XL in Detroit and Super Bowl XLV in Texas, in addition to more than 80 other major American sporting events.

The Host Committee looked to the firm to conduct the study because of its conservative approach to assessing financial impact.

“We wanted to make sure our numbers were solid, even at the risk of underestimating,” said Keith Bruce, CEO of the Host Committee. “Even through this very conservative lens, it’s clear that Super Bowl 50 was an economic boon for the Bay Area.”

“Too often, economic impact studies exaggerate their findings by conflating money spent during an event with money spent because of an event,” said Dr. Patrick Rishe, CEO of Sportsimpacts. “We took every precaution to distinguish between the two.”

Rishe is also the director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

“In analyzing Super Bowl 50,” said Rishe, “we have applied conservative methodology that only considers spending that was directly spurred by the Big Game – while also taking into consideration spending that was likely displaced by the major event.”

To accurately determine the financial impact associated with Super Bowl 50, Rishe and his team of analysts tallied the spending by non-local game-day attendees; by out-of-towners who visited the Bay Area to participate in Super Bowl 50 events but did not attend the game itself; by non-local event participants including media, sponsors, vendors and NFL staff; and spending by event organizers on logistics and operations originating from non-local sources.

Analysts did not count any spending toward the total spending that would eventually leave the Bay Area, such as money brought in by non-locally owned rental car companies. Analysts also largely excluded spending by Bay Area residents during Super Bowl week, with the assumption that local would have spent their money elsewhere in the region regardless of the presence of the Big Game.

After determining gross spending stimulated by Super Bowl 50, analysts also considered spending potentially displaced by the Big Game – such as locals that went out of town to avoid the activity, tourists that decided against a Bay Area trip that would have coincided with Super Bowl 50, or corporate travelers that may have otherwise flown into the Bay Area had it not been for the game. This lost spending was subtracted from the estimated economic impact.

Analysts also accounted for costs incurred by the host region, subtracting the city/county dollars spent on things like additional transportation and ramped-up public safety to accommodate Super Bowl 50 celebrations from the economic impact.

“This is important – it shows the financial impact was a net positive impact,” Bruce said. “The money a city like San Francisco, for example, spent on increased services came back several times over and benefitted the city enormously.”

More than 57% of revenues benefitted San Francisco; 12.3% went to San Jose; 7.2% went to Santa Clara; 7.1% went to areas near San Francisco International Airport; 3.7% went to Oakland; and 12.6% benefited various other parts of the Bay Area.

A report issued by the San Francisco Controller’s Office earlier this year found that minority-owned, women-owned, LGBT-owned, and disabled veteran-owned businesses brought in $6.6 million from direct contracts with the Host Committee and NFL.

Additionally, $13 million was contributed to Bay Area youth-serving nonprofits – mostly through the Host Committee’s philanthropic arm, the 50 Fund – making Super Bowl 50 the most giving Super Bowl ever.

“At the end of the day, Super Bowl 50 brought millions of dollars to community-serving nonprofits, tens of millions of dollars to city coffers, and hundreds of millions of dollars to the regional economy,” said Bruce. “Super Bowl 50 was a touchdown for the entire Bay Area, its small businesses and workers, and, especially, its young people.”