At a time when many analysts say the country is on the verge of a recession, there’s no better engine than the Super Bowl to pump revenue into a state economy. This year’s matchup is expected to generate $400 million from 73,000 people attending the game, 50,000 nonticket holders, and 3,500 members of the media.
During the two weeks of festivities held in the Phoenix–Scottsdale area, the average visitor will spend money on four nights of hotel accommodations and a total $1,500 to $2,000 during their stay.
The influx can also boost tourism long term. On average, 70% of those that responded to post Super Bowl surveys said they would consider the host city when planning a company meeting and 20% said they wanted to consider expanding their business into the area.
The process to secure this year’s game started in 2003 when the state of Arizona put in a bid that was reviewed by NFL team owners. According to Mike Kennedy, chair of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, “These 32 people were the jury and we had to convince them to vote for our state over Washington, D.C., which was also contending. We tried to dangle economic incentives and promote the attributes of our community—particularly the climate and the numerous golf courses. The FBR Open, a major PGA Tour event, is the same week as the Super Bowl so we gave the owners access.”
The state also had to supply 20,000 first-class hotel rooms and prove that the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale would be deliverable for the game. Kennedy says, it will cost us “approximately $17 million to fulfill the promises made to the NFL and to actually stage the event.”
Arizona must also comply with the NFL’s Emerging Business Program. It was established in 1994 to educate and provide long-term opportunities for minority and female-owned businesses through procurement, outreach classes, and networking up to, during, and after the Super Bowl.
Any entrepreneur that is certified with an Arizona agency was able to submit an application to be considered as a vendor, supplier, or service provider for the game and its ancillary events.
Ross’ Hooked & Cooked Restaurant was one of the businesses awarded a contract to cater a major tailgate party. Its co-owner, Bari-Ellen Ross says, “A year-and-a-half ago, Party Planners West found us on the NFL’s Emerging Business list. We worked under them [as a subcontractor] during the bidding process. We had to go through a background check, attend trainings, and show we could meet the league’s equipment and transportation mandates.”
Ross was initially turned down for the job because an NFL tasting committee felt that her soul food specialties were not a fit for the Southwestern theme of the event. She asked for 24 hours to create a dish that would work, ultimately crafting a chili dusted shrimp with fiesta rice meal. Ross was able to turn a no into yes and was contracted to serve 1500 portions of the newly designed menu item.