New York City and New Jersey wanted a piece of the Superbowl pie. With ticket prices at a 10-year low in the final days prior to the event, however, hosting a Super Bowl while battling mother nature is turning out to be a financial disappointment. In Wall Street terms, it’s a Bear market for many. There are nine major financial impacts of the big game this year. There are winners and there are losers.
First of the nine is the location of the event. With way over-priced hotel rooms, crowded restaurants, ticket scams, and public transportation to deal with, it hardly seems worth it for fans of the Broncos and Seahawks to brave the gray skies and freezing temperatures at the end of a long trek to the northeast.
Winners: Fox Sports, based in New York City, is a winner. They will be perfectly glad to see more people watching from home.
Losers: Denver, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Chicago, and London will all be losers. Every one of them want to host a Super Bowl, which will be a hard sell after this year.
Figures as high as a projected $600 million financial impact to the region were, and continue to be, tossed around as casually as bean bags at a county fair midway game. Sports economists, for the most part, are unanimous in being skeptical of these numbers. Many are suggesting that they are exaggerated or outright manufactured and then sent to the press.
Winners: Sports economists, who will be saying “I told you so,” until the cows come home, are the winners here.
Losers: The NY/NJ Super Bowl Committee and its sponsors will wind up the losers, with egg on their face for swallowing all of the Wall Street hype.
Sponsors and event promoters are easy pickings for New Jersey and New York. With the latest product always available, whether apparel, food, drink, or technology , alongside young corporate marketers organizing events desperately wanting to climb the brand ladder, there is a glut of opportunity.
Winners: Good looking young people who have flocked to the city to make their fortunes will be in high demand for these would-be branding gurus trying to make a name for themselves. Successful or not, they get paid; winners.
Losers: The sponsors lose here, being used to a formula that keeps the undivided attention of millions of man-caves across the country. This year they are finding that formula a more difficult prospect. If nothing else, girls don’t always attract as much attention in freezing temperatures as in bikini weather.
NFL owners waived the “50 degree average temperature” rule, allowing New York and New Jersey nudge in on being the host. Policy-be-damned this year, the NFL owners sided with Woody Johnson and Jonathan Tisch, the Jets and Giants owners. The fans may not thank them for that.
Winners: The Weather Channel has been tossed a softball for ratings this week, even the threat of horrible weather has created an instant market for them to take advantage of. Features surrounding the game are sure to litter the landscape of their weekend programming.
Losers: The NY/NJ Super Bowl Committee and its sponsors are already seeing the weather be as much the story of the weekend as the players and teams. This can be nothing other than a losing prospect for them. The ticket prices, which are dropping to a 10-year low, seem to support the theory.
The Super Bowl half-time show features Bruno Mars, not exactly a household name among the portion of the viewing audience that is old enough to hold a job. He is perhaps the weakest draw in more than a decade. Fans should not expect to see any wardrobe malfunction, but even The Red Hot Chili Peppers may not be able to keep fans in their seats.
Winners: Stadium Concession Vendors will be the winners here. At the stroke of halftime, they stand to make a killing as indifferent fans flee the cold in pursuit of hot pizza and alcoholic fortification.
Losers: Janet Jackson, who is always talked about during Super Bowl week anyway, will certainly be the target of comparison features about halftime show flops. Given that it is the tenth anniversary of the famous malfunction, broadcasters will not be able to help themselves.
New York/New Jersey area apartments are renting for as high as $2,000 per day during Super Bowl week. Capitalism is alive and well in the region, no problem there. With supply and demand pushing the game even further out of reach than ever in the current financial climate, the league is already earning the ire of fans across the country.
Winners: Manhattan Apartment Owners can pay their rents for months to come for the sake of a weekend of inconvenience. They are clearly big winners here.
Losers: The NFL owners who allowed the big game to be hosted in a place where the population density increases the cost-per-trip for long distance fans, like Seattle and Denver, will lose here.
Fans are already getting fired up to watch the Super Bowl ads. It is a tradition carefully cultivated by sponsors who are spending more than $4 million dollars in air-time alone for 30 seconds of people’s time. Brand building is in vogue these days, and fans will be watching to find out who can convince them of what the “have to buy” products will be.
Winners: Ad agencies with the most talked-about ads will clearly be the winners in this. This is the “big game” for advertisers, and 30 seconds can make a career for the right spot.
Losers: Budweiser, known for years for their ads that connected so well with the American psyche, will likely lose this year. It may not even matter how good their ads are. Everyone knows now that they sold out to a Belgium firm, and it may be too much of a stretch for viewers to buy an attempt to continue their “hometown America” image in light of having been shipped overseas.
Memorabilia hounds will be out in full force, both buyers and sellers. Fetching a Peyton Manning, game-used piece this week might be questionable. Perhaps the luster of signed and game-used memorabilia has gone the way of the Wal-Mart model; get a copy from China at one tenth the price.
Winners: Fans who don’t buy sports memorabilia are the winners, just because they have nothing to lose.
Losers: Fans who buy sports memorabilia are facing a market as perilous as a mine field. Authentication concerns are very real in an age where one ticket counterfeiting scandal has already pointed toward an inside job. Memorabilia, by comparison, is child’s play to create forgeries and fakes.
The final impact is from a source than nobody is talking about. Human trafficking does exist in New York. Unlike many other host cities like Indianapolis, Atlanta, Tampa, or San Diego, with this choice of cities, the NFL risks being a facilitator of this abysmal crime. Craigslist.org ads are numerous and growing for both the solicitation and offering of “services” for Super Bowl week. It is something that organizers and broadcasters will have to weigh heavily in their approach to the weekend, whether they want to say it or not.
Winners: None. There are no winners here. The potential for a disappearance, or an arrest, or a disaster of some sort with the enormous crowd and free-flowing alcohol that can be tied to the event is too high to not be considered. Teams will be babysitting their players and personnel fairly closely if they are wise.
Losers: All. The fact that the threat exists makes this a losing proposition for everyone involved.
The traders on Wall Street know there are always winners and losers in an up or down market. It is not just these nine financial impacts which say that this season is a Bear market for the NFL and this year’s Super Bowl being held in the New York City market.
By Joel Thompson