A Super Bowl in Miami: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Good

Every article from the Miami Herald to the South Florida Business Journal to Yahoo Finance wants to talk about the economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl, so let’s talk about it. The results are staggeringly diverse. Some articles cite up to $500 mil in economic impact, while some are closer to $50 mil. Either way, no economist cites that there is no benefit, just vary on the amount.

The biggest effect could be in the form of hotel rooms. February is already a busy and expensive time to visit Miami, but the Super Bowl seems to have heightened those prices. According to the Miami Herald, room prices are 1.5x their usual, bringing Miami to the highest room rates of any recent Super Bowl. However most of that revenue will “leak” to the hotel owners and shareholders, not benefitting the hospitality workers and local managers.

Finally, the average Super Bowl attending household makes $250,000. These are luxury buyers who will spend money on spa treatments, food & beverage, and more. An estimated 200,000 people will visit Miami for the Super Bowl, and all of that spending will cause an outsized sales tax revenue for the County.

South Beach, where many guests will be staying is not close to Hard Rock Stadium.

The Bad

Just like an overstayed house guest, the Super Bowl will affect your weekend plans whether you are going to events or not. Road closures, traffic, airport congestion, public safety checks will all be nuisances this weekend for the almost 3 million Miami Dade County residents.

Also, Miami is a city of many hubs. Downtown, South Beach, Brickell, Aventura, Wynwood, Doral, etc. Moving around the city for those that are not used to it will be difficult. Most guests will be staying as close to South Beach as they can afford and taking the hour-long Uber ride up to Hard Rock Stadium and back. As there is little to no public transportation that will get people there, Super Bowl attendees are awaiting a traffic congestion nightmare.

Locals stay home too. Due to these congestion and crowdedness issues, locals will choose to stay home and not patronize the many local restaurants they usually do, that will not be frequented by tourists. Local businesses by the stadium, in Downtown, or on the Beach will suffer this weekend due to locals not wanting to leave their homes.

Super Bowl Live in Bayfront Park

The Ugly

Miami Beach Mayor, Dan Gelber, had a sober reminder at the Super Bowl kick off event Monday:

“We have to make sure that our streets are navigable, that our streets are above sea level and that rising tides don’t impair our quality of life. By the way, that’s exactly what the Super Bowl wants, or any event. They don’t want to come to a place that’s underwater. This is a surmountable challenge.”

Miami Beach Mayor, Dan Gelber

Miami’s Super Bowl sites (Bayfront Park, Miami Beach Convention Center, Fox Sports Beach set up) are some of the most beautiful in Miami. They are also some of the most threatened due to Sea Level rise. With this extra revenue, we should be aggressively exploring mitigation and prevention techniques that ensure that Miami is safe to host more world class events that help drive our economy for years to come.

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