CHARLOTTE – Despite the final score at the Super Bowl Sunday night, Charlotte is a clear economic winner, say city business and tourism officials.
The Carolina Panthers’ defeat to the Denver Broncos was a blow to North Carolina sports fans, but will undoubtedly mean big things for Charlotte going forward, according to Bob Morgan, CEO of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.
“The panthers bring us incredible exposure,” Morgan said. By far, the Super Bowl is the widest viewed sporting event in Charlotte’s history, he said.
“It will increase awareness dramatically for Charlotte,” Morgan said. “My guess is that we will see an increase in people and companies who are interested in Charlotte and who want to begin a conversation and dig a little deeper to decide whether they want to be here to do business here or to live, and that we’ll see a bump in our numbers in the weeks and months ahead.”
“It is estimated that any given regular season home game for the Panthers generates a direct economic impact of $14 million to our economy, and that is primarily to the hospitality and tourism industry,” Morgan said. The city has already felt the bounce from hosting two additional playoff games, he said.
While Charlotte hotels typically see a significant bounce on nights of primetime football games, they saw a 44% increase in revenue during the playoffs hosted by the city, said Laura White, spokesperson for the Charlotte Regional Visitor Authority.
“Being an NFL city creates a differentiated advantage on many levels,” said Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. That value, however, is not linear but instead episodic. The two weeks of Charlotte’s global media coverage leading up to the Super Bowl was a prime example, he said.
“In the US alone, 111.9 million viewers watched Super Bowl 50 with a 49 rating and a 73 share among households,” Smith said. “That means 49 percent of televisions in the US were tuned to the Super Bowl and 73 percent of television sets that were on were watching the Super Bowl. That is massive exposure for Charlotte and the Carolinas,” he said.
The Super Bowl’s long term economic development potential “will be hard to attribute to any one recruiting victory of institutional investment,” Smith added.
“If you believe in the science of marketing and the power of impressions, this was a great start to 2016 for Charlotte and North Carolina,” Smith said.