Super Bowl impact on Tampa uncertain

Playboy has canceled its Super Bowl party. Sports Illustrated has done the same. And, these are just two of the events that have been flushed as team owners and corporate sponsors try to navigate a difficult financial environment.

The good news is that an estimated 100,000 visitors are expected to spend $150 million in Tampa this week, so the Super Bowl is good for something … beside monkeys in commercials. But, this is 20 percent below what they would spend in healthier economic conditions, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

For the week ahead, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has remarked that image management will be crucial. “I think the word I would use is extravagant,” Goodell told the Washington Post. “You don’t want that. We understand that. That’s not what the NFL is about. But we do want the event to be exciting.”

Meanwhile, the money engine behind this annual event is showing signs of strain. NBC has set a $3 million price tag per 30-second ad, and 10 percent of its inventory still hasn’t moved. Last year’s game reached 97.5 million viewers, making it the second-largest audience in history. The final episode of M*A*S*H retains the top spot. But, the nine most-viewed shows since 2000 have been Super Bowls.How is the media handling all this? I mean, if you haven’t noticed broadcast and print are host to unprecedented corporate carnage.

Well, the NFL says that the number of companies looking for media credentials is up, thanks to that brave new world of 24-hour news called the internet (which I guess isn’t a fad) and the fact that reporters are notorious for wanting free stuff. But, most media companies are expected to spend smaller teams.

For people who have to pay for access, the story is mixed. All 72,500 tickets were sold, most at $800 a piece. Though 1,000 Super Bowl tickets were cut to $500 each (a $200 discount), 25 percent did sell at a record $1,000 each.

So, there is still plenty of money out there, the question is going to be how far into their wallets travelers will reach. After spending more than $500 on a ticket and probably a few thousand dollars on travel, we need to see how many will add a few extravagant dinners and cigar runs to Ybor City will occur on the periphery.

For now, it looks like the grandest Super Bowl party in the world – the Super Bowl itself – will not be what it has been in past year.

[Via Washington Post]