How to make sense of the NFL’s fanciful Super Bowl economic impact numbers

5 Apr 2019

In their 2004 paper “Super Bowl or Super(Hyper)Bole?: Assessing The Economic Impact of America’s Premier Sporting Event,” economists Robert Baade and Victor Matheson studied Super Bowls from 1970-2001 and concluded the game contributed about one-quarter to the local economy what boosters promised. With additional research, Baade thinks it’s closer to one-tenth.

“Economists have a rough rule of thumb: Move the decimal point one place to left, and you’re far more likely to come up a better measure of economic impact than the NFL number,” said Baade, a professor of economics at Lake Forest (Ill.) College.

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