May 20 2009 | Latest NewsExperts: Economic boost associated with holding the 2013 Super Bowl
in New Orleans begins immediately
by Jaquetta White, The Times-Picayune
This afternoon's announcement that New Orleans will host Super Bowl XLVII kicked into gear an economic engine that will begin paying dividends almost immediately and last until well after the event takes place in the Crescent City in 2013, local officials said.
On the weekend of the game, hotels will be sold out, restaurants and bars will be filled and retail shops visited. But the spending associated with those acts is only part of the benefit of landing the big game. Because the process of promoting the Super Bowl also requires promoting New Orleans, the event could serve as a catalyst for longer term economic growth, particularly in New Orleans' heavily battered meetings and convention business.
"It's a huge deal because it brings several hundred million dollars in direct impact to the city," said Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. Perry, along with Entergy New Orleans Chief Executive Rod West, delivered New Orleans' final pitch to the NFL Tuesday afternoon.
"And, when the NFL, which is the most powerful corporate entity in the world, decides that their number one event will be held in New Orleans, it should end any doubt for corporations and associations about meeting here," Perry said.
New Orleans last hosted the Super Bowl in 2002. The event is estimated to have had a $292 million economic impact, said Janet Speyrer, an associate dean for research and an economics professor at the University of New Orleans. That number includes spending on entertainment, shopping, lodging and transportation.
"Super Bowl is the biggest demand generator of any sporting event," said Martin Driskell, general manager of the Hotel Intercontinental New Orleans. "It's much greater than a big citywide (convention)."
The 70,000 visitors the game will attract is equal to about the size of two city-wide conventions, but the impact is greater because of the "wealth factor," said Mavis Early, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association.
Super Bowl weekend is not only about the National Football League's championship game, it is also a business event that attracts executives from top companies worldwide.
"Two major conventions would fill every hotel room, but the Super Bowl would have an even greater impact," Early said. "They spend more money. And they do everything top of the line."
New Orleans currently has 33,720 hotel rooms. Another 500 will be added to that number in June when the Roosevelt Hotel reopens.
Speyrer said UNO has estimated the impact of the 2013 game at $350 million to $400 million. The great variation is attributable to large unknown factors like changes in the attitude toward corporate travel and hotel room rates. The national recession has caused disdain for such travel and room rates in New Orleans have been depressed of late both because of the recession and hurricane recovery. Both of those things could change in four years.
But, perhaps, the greater impact will not be immediately measurable. The NFL's decision, for instance, could go a long way toward shoring up other economic drivers, said Fred Sawyers, general manager of the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel, the city's largest hotel.
"What happens is something like a Super Bowl gets awarded to us and the meetings and convention industry looks to that as a huge vote of confidence," Sawyers said. "It helps us to attract these meetings and conventions that are really our bread and butter."
Jaquetta White can be reached at email@example.com or 504.826.3494.