Super Bowl Press Will Help New Orleans Tourism

February 22 2013 | Latest News

Good press for New Orleans around Super Bowl 2013 reached an audience of millions, says tourism study....

By Mark Waller, | The Times-Picayune

on February 20, 2013

The local organizers of Super Bowl 2013 in New Orleans often remarked that a key benefit of hosting the NFL’s biggest media spectacle was the immeasurable value of the national and international exposure, which could inspire people to visit the city for years. Now the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation has made an attempt to measure it, or at least a slice of it, by tracking flattering stories about New Orleans, their audience sizes and what the cost would be to buy advertising on an equivalent scale.

In news coverage examined by a research firm for the tourism corporation, upbeat stories about New Orleans during the weeks around the game reached readers or viewers 69.5 million times. For the print and online media segments, the study calculated that the same amount of space in the form of advertising would have cost $6 million by the game day peak of the extravaganza.

Because the search focused on stories mentioning the Super Bowl and New Orleans but didn’t necessarily find every relevant article, the ad value estimate excluded time on broadcast media and the study left out the 108 million people who watched the game itself on television, Mark Romig, president of the tourism marketing group, said the numbers fall short of showing the full reach of the event. Still, he said, they reveal a level of publicity beyond what his organization or other New Orleans promoters could afford to muster in the form of a marketing campaign.

“I’ve been here seven years,” Kelly Schulz, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said at a board meeting for the marketing group on Tuesday. “I’ve never seen coverage about New Orleans that was so positive.”

“It was exhilarating,” said city Council member Jackie Clarkson at the same meeting. “Nobody had anything but rave reviews to say about the city.”

Board members and others at the meeting discussed the one, glaring hiccup: the partial power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that delayed the game more than half an hour.

Romig said the “blackout” caused a spike in online commentary during the game that subsided quickly by the next day. Schulz said National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s assurances that it wouldn’t factor into decisions about New Orleans hosting more Super Bowls, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s forthright press conference on the electrical mishap and reports from Entergy and the Superdome’s managers on the cause of the malfunction quieted the issue.

Romig said the study’s method of equating news story space to advertising space results in rough estimates, but it’s a measure promoters use to get an idea of the economic value of good publicity. “It’s hard to quantify public relations,” he said. “Is it scientific? Who knows? It does give us the opportunity to quantify the effort. This is just one sense of how you can value it.”

The survey provided statistics for a sample of stories in major national news media outlets that attracted millions of readers, showing their audiences and the corresponding hypothetical ad values.

USA Today’s “Party central: Mardi Gras, Super Bowl sweep New Orleans” attracted 17.3 million unique visitors on the Internet and about 242 million page views. The tourism corporation estimated the advertising value of that at $19,945.’s “Live From New Orleans” drew almost 20 million readers and 704.3 million views, the equivalent of almost $22,890 in advertising.

The article “Why The Super Bowl Is A Great Showcase For Revitalized New Orleans” in Forbes won almost 9 million viewers who made combined page views of 70.3 million and was worth an estimated $10,348 in advertising.

A visitors guide in USA Today presented through the perspective of the New Orleans Saints quarterback, “10 great places in Drew Brees’ New Orleans,” brought 17.3 million unique visitors and almost 241 million clicks, for what the survey concluded was an advertising value of $19,945.

CNN’s “‘Super Gras’ a big score for New Orleans,” saw 20.4 million viewers and more than 460 million views, amounting to an ad value of $23,512.

The Los Angeles Times entry, “Super Nola: Insider’s Tour of New Orleans,” landed more than 8 million visitors and 34.5 million page views, for an ad value of $9,253.

The other main gauge of the championship game’s benefits for the host city – how much spending it spurred locally – is still under study. The New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee projected a direct spike of $211 million in spending with residual economic activity raising the number to $434 million. Economists dispute, however, which factors such studies should include and deduct.

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