The banners went up. The restaurants staffed up. Hotels filled up. In some cases, big pricey entertainment tents went up.
But if the state's Super Celebration sites beyond Downtown Indianapolis were expecting a windfall from the Super Bowl -- while serving as an official host to out-of-town visitors -- many were a tad disappointed.
"I am very glad it's over," said Brenda Rising-Moore, treasurer of the Broad Ripple Village Association.
Crowds failed to materialize in Broad Ripple, which lost money on the $182,000 spent to erect a 1,000-person tent with free live music during Super Bowl weekend.
Rising-Moore, whose association joined the local merchants association to front the money for the tent and bands, said most Broad Ripple regulars spent the weekend Downtown and too few out-of-towners ventured to the village.
Many sites in Marion County and the suburbs said similar things.The disappointing reaction of some business owners downtown is not a surprise. I had heard a number of downtown restaurant workers on Mass Avenue and outside the Super Bowl Village area complain that business was very disappointing and, in some cases, worse than normal. When I ventured downtown on the day of the game, I was surprised to see many hotel guests checking out of their hotels hours before the game. I was surprised to see that given the late hour that the game ended. Indianapolis' airport had provided 24-hour service on Super Bowl weekend and flights were scheduled out of the airport all night long Sunday night after the game, mostly headed to New York and surrounding airports. Although those attending the game were required to guarantee a 3-night minimum stay, many left town immediately after the game despite having purchased rooms for Sunday night.
The Star story has a good summary of the economic impact different Indianapolis neighborhoods and surrounding communities experienced during the Super Bowl. Many reported hotel rooms fully booked but little additional spending in their communities. The story omits some of the further out communities like Terre Haute that had also guaranteed rooms to the NFL for the Super Bowl but learned only days before the big event that the hotel rooms were being released because there was no demand for them. It will be interesting to see the sales and hotel tax data for the January-February period. I suspect the increase won't be as high as some expected. That's because many of the hotel rooms that were booked through the NFL and its affiliates were not subject to hotel and sales taxes thanks to a special tax break authorized by the state legislature for the Super Bowl. Additionally, the large black out period required for hosting the Super Bowl probably deterred some bookings that would have otherwise occurred both prior to and immediately following the Super Bowl weekend.