A Billion-Dollar Baby

By Prof. Clifford Benton
Updated: May 31, 2010

QUEENS, N.Y. (BASN)Four years ago (2006), Detroit held the Super Bowl with receipts totaling $302 million. Not bad.

Four years from now, New York/New Jersey will host the Super Bowl. If you factor inflation and a recovered economy, the 2014 Super Bowl should exceed Detroit’s financial windfall — by a bunch.

First estimates said that New York would pull in about $500 million. Consider this: in 2007, the Super Bowl was held in Miami, Florida, and raked in nearly half a billion ($463 million).

Fast forward seven years to 2014 and don’t change the venue. It would be a safe bet to presume that if the Super Bowl were held in Miami in 2014, it would mean at least $600 million to $700 million (if there is still a recession, then the former amount is more likely, but if the recession recedes, then the latter is more likely).

So how could the estimates for the 2014 Super Bowl to be held in the New York area be a “paltry” $500 million?

The NFL doesn’t need New York to host a $500 million Super Bowl. They could get that much in Cleveland — no disrespect to the great people and city of Cleveland, and I don’t mean that mockingly.

For those dollars, you could hold the Super Bowl at a “traditional” venue like California or Florida, or you could go the dome route. The Super Bowl is the NFL’s crowning jewel, its most spectacular brand.

The NFL has also been relatively smart as a sports league, not as smart as the NBA but much smarter than Major League Baseball (MLB). Why would they risk playing the most important game in weather that may prohibit the quality of the competition and the viewing experience?

That’s because we’re talking about a Billion-Dollar Baby.

The U.S. Open (tennis) held in late summer boosts New York City’s economy by nearly half a billion dollars ($450 million) over the two weeks that it’s played. The U.S.

Open is “small potatoes” compared to the Super Bowl.

I mean “baby potatoes” — buds!

The Super Bowl is a stop-the-world event. They’ll probably move it back to coincide with President’s day since so many people do not go to work the next day (a.k.a. “call in sick Monday”).

I’m not disparaging the U.S. Open; it’s a well-run and extraordinarily popular, sporting event that arouses international interest. Former New York City mayor, David Dinkins, was a major proponent of the event even though he was heavily criticized for backing it.

Politics, Politics.

Arguably, the U.S. Open (tennis) is the best of the Grand Slam events, and because it’s held in New York City, there’s more money generated than if it were held elsewhere. But the U.S. Open is not the Super Bowl — nothing is.

During the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, there are various events, activities, conferences, etc. The planning has begun.

Marketers and product/service development teams are collaborating; venues are being rented; hotels are readying themselves; sports media are jockeying for position; limousine services are pre-ordering custom-made 2014 limousines from car manufacturers (it’s going to be stretch limousine heaven); catering services and restaurants are lining up chefs like teams have been lining up for LeBron (stay tuned for my upcoming article on the business impact of Lebron James entitled: “LeBronomics”); the new Meadowlands Stadium is being “redesigned” and it’s not fully completed yet, to make the “live” viewing experience more compelling and comfortable.

Before the formal announcement, there was a de-facto announcement. That’s business. The aforementioned maneuvers were already in play. Tens of millions of dollars have already been generated.

The bidding process was for the public domain — the decision was made in the “power broker” domain years ago, when the stadium was in its blueprint stages.

Most of the tickets have been sold (in principle). This is the business of sports. Good business is about being ahead of the curve, not behind it. Two-thousand fourteen is tomorrow. Blink and it will be here.

The weather forecast has been projected for February 2014. Don’t rule out a retractable roof being installed. Why not? The smart money says spend another $100 million and build the roof.

(I’ll get to that in the Professor’s PE.A.R.L.S. section.)

The Professor’s P.E.A.R.L.S. (Perspectives, Expertise, Advice, Reasons, Learnings & Solutions)

I’m not, but if I were:

1. Atlantic City and the governor of New Jersey, we’d urge the builders and investors of the New Meadowland Stadium to spend another $100 million to “raise the roof” to entice the high rollers from warm places like California, Florida, Nevada, etc. to watch the game and in comfort—and while they’re at it, drop a few hundred million at the casino.

2. New York City, I’d get the Aqueduct Racetrack debacle settled and get legalized gambling in New York. Sorry Atlantic City.

3. Mayor Bloomberg, I’d start laying the ground work for my 2013 run for re-election.

I’m a billionaire mayor and this is a billion-dollar sporting event.

It’s perfect synergy. (However, Roland Rogers for Mayor in 2013!).

4. Madden NFL 2014, I’d create a special New York Super Bowl edition. I create a Super Bowl game that you can download on the day of the Super Bowl for $20.14 that… (Come on, you know I’m not giving that one away—at least not for free, but for fee.).

5. Grand Theft Auto, I’d have a New York City Super Bowl edition where the main character is doing God-knows-what during Super Bowl week.

6. Call of Duty, you don’t have to be a genius to tie that into the Super Bowl.

7. A hand-held device and/or computer manufacturer, I’d get a licensing deal from the NFL and put out a special edition.

8. Jay Z and Alicia Keys, we do the do (meaning Duet).

9. A club owner, I’d open a club called the “Tailgate” (you talk about double entendre).

The best and most exclusive pre-, during-, and post-Super Bowl parties would be held there.

10. A Pop Warner football team based in New York City or New Jersey, I’d contact a computer manufacturer who will feature the team in commercials, get the team tickets for the Super Bowl, and have the players sitting with their laptops.

11. Tiger Woods, I have four years to resurrect my image and get those huge Super Bowl endorsements. The clock is ticking. His management team should be working it — yesterday. Look at how Kobe came back.

12. Gatorade and Nike, I’d do a joint advertising campaign with Lebron James who just happens to be built/constructed like a football player. (Can’t give that one away for free.).

13. ESPN or another sports media outlet, I’d get Jay Reelz and J.D. (the Puerto Rican superstars) on my core journalist staff. How do you sleep on the Latino audience in 2014?

14. Jerald Hoover and Spike Lee, I’d do a documentary about the Super Bowl.

15. Hip-hop artist Drake, I’d keep my image squeaky clean and get a few lucrative endorsement deals and perform with P-Diddy during the half-time show; and finally.

16. The Jets and Giants, I’d win the AFC and NFC conference championship in 2014 and… Enough said. Readers Note: At BASN Sports Business, we want out readers to be writers, in other words, a “dollar” (figuratively speaking) for your thoughts. E-mail your P.E.A.R.L.S. to cbenton@blackathlete.com. I want to incorporate your feedback in subsequent articles.