New Study Shows Indianapolis Hotel Estimates Were A Bust Hosting The 2012 Super Bowl

In a yet released economic study on when cities host the NFL Super Bowl, some data has leaked showing bad news for the city of Indianapolis.

The Field of Schemes website first caught my attention of a New York Times article that interviewed sports economists about the benefits of hosting a Super Bowl.

Here’s more from the article:

Take hotel rooms, for example. To host the Super Bowl, Minneapolis had to show that there were at least 24,000 of them within 60 minutes of the stadium, capable of accommodating visitors during the entire 10-day Super Bowl celebration. Accordingly, the economic impact report estimates the Super Bowl will generate 230,000 nights of hotel stays.

But if the Super Bowl were not in town, many of those hotel rooms would have been filled anyway, by business travelers, convention goers and — yes, even in Minnesota in the dead of winter — tourists. It is the net occupancy gain, not gross occupancy, that matters, said Frank Stephenson, an economist at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.

Stephenson has studied hotel occupancy extensively, using a source of daily data that includes things like the number of rooms rented and the daily rate. This allows him to estimate how many hotel rooms in a region would usually be booked and for what price, and compare that with when the Super Bowl comes to town.

In a forthcoming paper, Stephenson examines the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl, which generated 224,000 hotel stays, according to its economic impact report. Indianapolis serves as an apt comparison to Minneapolis since it is a cold-weather city in the Midwest. Actually, in the week leading up to the Super Bowl and the three days afterward, Indianapolis hotels rented an additional 49,000 rooms compared with what would be expected, less than a quarter of the estimate.

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