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Minneapolis Super Bowl netted $370 million, report says

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The Philadelphia Eagles celebrate after defeating the New England Patriots.
The Philadelphia Eagles celebrate after defeating the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4, 2018 in Minneapolis.
Hannah Foslien | Getty Images file

Updated: 1:21 p.m. | Posted: 7:37 a.m.

Organizers of Super Bowl 52 say the game and its visitors netted the region $370 million in local spending during the run up to the Feb. 4 game in Minneapolis between the Eagles and Patriots.

A report released Tuesday estimated $450 million in local spending during the game — minus the money that visitors to Minnesota would have spent without a Super Bowl — brought in $370 million in new spending. Experts hired by the Super Bowl Host Committee say that money circulated through the local economy for an estimated impact of $400 million.

"The average visitor spent $608 per person per day," said Ken McGill with Rockport Analytics, a consulting company that looks at the economics of big events and wrote the report on the 2018 Super Bowl. "We interviewed, and we literally intercepted visitors ... and asked them where they were from, what they were spending in certain categories and whether they'd come back."

McGill said 88 cents of every dollar in impact was retained in Minnesota.

Host committee CEO Maureen Bausch and consultant Kenneth McGill.
Super Bowl host committee CEO Maureen Bausch and Rockport Analytics consultant Ken McGill answered questions about the economic impact of the 2018 Super Bowl outside the office of Gov. Mark Dayton on May 29, 2018.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

College of the Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson and other analysts have been skeptical about such numbers, saying financial estimates from other Super Bowl and mega events inflate the benefits and underestimate the costs of hosting such games — as well as the amount of money that would have been spent in the area anyway. 

The net number for the Minneapolis Super Bowl includes an $80 million discount for what the authors said would have been spent by visitors anyway, without the game.

Matheson, who has seen the Minnesota numbers for 2018, also says the numbers aren't money in the bank. 

The sale of an Eagles jersey, he contends, is mostly profit to the NFL and the manufacturer, with some retail markup. And since Minnesota nixed a tax on sports memorabilia in the stadium finance debate and doesn't tax clothing, local and state coffers wouldn't net much. 

Even hotel revenue mostly goes to out-of-state chains. "Spending does not equal income," Matheson said in an email, after reviewing the Rockport report.

Maureen Bausch, CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee, said there were signs on the ground that the money was real. "We wanted to bring visitors to Minnesota during a traditionally low season, and hotels saw three times their traditional occupancy over that same period," Bausch said. Inquiries to the Minneapolis tourism office are up 30 percent since the game, she said of the post-game interest in the region.

The committee released its report on the financials at a press conference in the governor's office Tuesday. Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers committed $498 million in public money to help pay for a new facility for the Vikings in 2012. And Dayton has long claimed that hosting an NFL Championship would be a major benefit to having the stadium.

"The success of the enterprise was just phenomenal," Dayton said. "Now they have the results to show for it."

Rockport also did an economic impact analysis for two other Super Bowls. The company said the game had a $278 million impact in Indianapolis in 2012, and added $347 million to the Houston economy in 2017.

Bausch estimated the Minneapolis host committee raised a little over $50 million to pay the costs to host the game, including about $7.1 million for city and National Guard security.

Dayton, though, said it was worth it, noting that the PGA took the unusual step of committing to return the Ryder Cup back to Minnesota in 2028. He said that was a sign that Minnesota's efforts to attract tourism and big events are building momentum and drawing attention to the state and its economy.

"Any time we're put to the test, we shine, and it's noticed by people that put a lot of stake in these events," Dayton said.

MPR News' Martin Moylan contributed to this report.