The Super Bowl’s Super Impact

by | 30 January 2020

The Christmas holiday season is indeed one of the most important periods for U.S. retailers, but other days and events throughout the year increasingly create opportunities for retail sales. Super Bowl Sunday is now ranked the second largest food consumption day, only behind Thanksgiving. Spending related to the annual NFL championship game has skyrocketed from $9.6 billion in 2009 to $15.3 billion last year. This year’s forecast, according to the National Federation of Retailers, is down slightly to $14.8 billion, but spending per person is projected to remain the same as last year at $81. The 35-44 year old cohort will spend the most averaging $123.

The lion’s share of purchases will be food and beverages, accounting for 80% of all game-related spending. Team apparel and accessories will comprise 10% and there will also be a boost in sales of televisions and furniture. Of the estimated 182.5 million people who plan to watch the game, 61 million will attend a party, while 13 million will visit a bar or restaurant to watch. With many food and beverage establishments located in malls or shopping centers, the additional traffic generated prior to and after the game can drive traffic to adjacent retailers. Retail owners have become more focused on providing unique and memorable consumer experiences to generate traffic and food has played an increasingly important role in accomplishing that goal.

Given the outsized portion of spending focused on food and beverage, grocery stores are the biggest winners, while also contributing to increased foot traffic at local shopping centers. Since the majority of Super Bowl shoppers make their purchases one to two days prior to the game, this creates another downstream benefit for brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, 75% of shoppers make their Super Bowl purchases in-store, while only 10% shop solely online. However, as delivery speed accelerates from two-day, to one-day, and even one-hour, the online percentage may grow.

Retail is not the only commercial real estate sector impacted by the big game. The hospitality sector in the host city and surrounding area also benefits from the influx of tens of thousands of visitors, many of whom do not even attend the game. This year’s host city of Miami, FL has recorded 43,000 hotel room bookings, averaging more than $500 per night. Already peak season for hotels in Miami, the additional demand for the game has made this year’s event the most expensive for hotel guests in history.

Not many years ago, hotels did not have much in the way of competition, but Airbnb continues to win a larger share of travelers’ lodging needs, recording 34,000 bookings in the Miami area so far. Last year, the Atlanta market recorded 26,000 bookings through the home sharing service.

Other online disrupters in the so called “gig” economy have gotten in on the act as well. With consumers spending an average of $47 each on alcohol purchases, ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft experience increased demand. Uber, last year, went so far as offering free rides to fans in the city of the losing team.

Move over pizza: Competition for food delivery has gotten much more sophisticated. Deliveries increased by 53% between the 2017 and 2018 games. Dominated by four major players, Door Dash, GrubHub, UberEATS and Postmates, it is now estimated that there will be 2.6 billion food delivery orders in 2020. Of that total, 3% of those orders will be fulfilled on Super Bowl Sunday. It is also increasingly likely that a catering order may be prepared in a “Ghost Kitchen”, a unique concept developed in response to exploding demand for food delivery.

The game benefits not only retailers, restaurants, delivery services, hotel owners, and many others, but the economic impact on the host city is enormous. This year, Miami officials are projecting an impact to the region in excess of $500 million. Additionally, it is said that the cities of the two teams who participate in the big game gain “destination branding” and an increased likelihood to be visited at a later date.

And, believe it or not, some think the Super Bowl is predictor for the housing market. Referring to the weekend as a “Groundhog Day for the housing market”, Glenn Kelmann, CEO of Redfin, says, “What I’ll be watching that weekend is just how many people are touring houses and, on Sunday night, how many of them decide to make an offer.”

Over its 54-year history, this annual celebration of the best two teams in football has become an unofficial national holiday and yet another reason for Americans to get out their wallets to contribute to the largest component of our national GDP, consumer spending. After the game, Monday morning will arrive. Americans will head back to work, except for the 16.5 million who call in sick the day after, and begin preparing for their next spending binge, Valentine’s Day.

About the author:

Loren DeFilippo is the Director of Research for Colliers’ Ohio markets, providing analysis and insight on commercial property trends. Drawing on 30+ years of experience, Loren focuses on turning data into actionable intelligence for our clients and brokerage teams.

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