MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Having the Super Bowl return to Minneapolis was part of the sell for the new $975 million Vikings stadium. On Tuesday, that hope came closer to reality as the NFL announced Minneapolis is on short list to host the 2018 Super Bowl. The city is competing with Indianapolis and New Orleans, the 2012 and 2013 hosts.

The Vikings, Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention and visitors’ association all believe the Super Bowl will have an economic impact of $300 million. They cite a study commissioned by the Indianapolis host committee in 2012. That study found Indy’s Super Bowl had an overall impact of $278 million. It took into account business that didn’t happen due to the Super Bowl.

“Over 70,000 people who make a living in this industry are going to be positively impacted,” said Melvin Tennant, CEO of Meet Minneapolis.

He says the estimates take in to account 100,000 people visiting the city for two to five days, spending money on things like hotels, restaurants, taxis, florists, babysitting services and more.

But some economists think $300 million is an overestimation.

“If you ask economists not affiliated with the NFL, we usually get a fraction of that,” said Dr. Victor Matheston, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross. He has written about Super Bowl economics and estimates a smaller, $100 million impact.

“The Super Bowl committee does a good job of adding up all the economic activity that does occur because of the Super Bowl, but it doesn’t do a good job of adding up the activity that doesn’t occur,” he said.

He also says not all of the money spent here stays here. For example, some of the money from the higher hotel room rates will go back to corporate hotels.

“When Minneapolis saw the Super Bowl back in 1992,” he said, “Minneapolis did quite well, but we didn’t see any surge metropolitan wide.”

Meet Minneapolis officials cite the 2008 Republic National Convention as a good example of economic impact. Organizers had estimated a $160 million impact. Experts later found a $170 million impact.

And, then, of course, there’s a value to free publicity by outsiders and pride from Minnesotans.

“I think it makes people happy,” said one Minneapolis football fan.

Heather Brown

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