“Who Dey Think Gonna Beat Dem Dollars”
By Terry Troy
Talk about pent up demand. It’s easy to understand why the average Bengals’ fan was so excited about this year’s Super Bowl. It’s also easy to see why even those remotely interested in football throughout our state were on pins and needles during the game.
After all, the last time the Bengals were in the Super Bowl, the average price of a new car was $10,400, the average rent $420 a month. A pound of pork chops would run you 40 cents. Things were certainly a lot different back in 1988.
The Bengals didn’t win, but the city of Cincinnati received plenty of national coverage during the lead up to the big game.
According to published reports, the Bengals got 127,000 mentions in January alone—more than nine times the exposure the team had last January—reaching some 22.6 million people. That kind of exposure would cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Now, civic organizations like REDI Cincinnati, the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber are already reaching out to convention planners, many of whom might not have even thought of Cincinnati as a possibility before.
And hundreds of small businesses across the Tristate area are already benefitting from increased crowds and brisk sales. And that’s a fact that’s as money as, well, Money Mac.
Witness the local bars that pulled in huge crowds for game days across the season. Now think about the sales of Bengals apparel. Official merchandise partners struggled to keep jerseys and souvenirs on their shelves—and it’s not from supply chain disruptions. Indeed, stores reported mobs of customers after the team’s win over the Chiefs, comparing everyday crowds to those they see once a year on Black Fridays.
The most immediate impact was felt over Super Bowl weekend, as Bengals fans from around the region flooded into town to witness the historic Super Bowl appearance. In the two weeks leading up to the game, an advertising campaign, a collaboration between the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau and MeetNKY, was implemented to reach out to those regional fans.
“The Cincy region has come together to make sure this is an exciting weekend for visitors and residents alike to celebrate the historic season,” said Julie Calvert, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA CVB, in the lead up to the game. “There are many options, from family activities to special Bengals tailgates, themed food and beverages, and more. Visitors can celebrate the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day in one exciting destination.”
Indeed, VisitCincy.com even coordinated a Super Bowl guide outlining event details and direct links to hotels and other attractions.
So what’s the bottom line?
While many experts and sports economists caution city officials and taxpayers that the economic impact of a Super Bowl visit is often overstated, it should be a big enough jolt to boost the region’s economy by somewhere in the neighborhood of $460 million, according to several published reports.
That’s not exactly chump change.
So regardless of how Cool Joe Burrow and the Bengals performed, all the communities of Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and the entire Greater Cincinnati region are already winners.
It’s been long-awaited and overdue.