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Opinion: Chiefs’ Super Bowl win spills into Missourians’ pockets

Eyes & Ears

Posted online

I know the Super Bowl has an economic impact for the winning team. But how much?

Kansas City is still basking in the glow of its beloved Chiefs last month capturing the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy. The Missouri-based team’s big victory must be turning into money earned and spent throughout the state. I want to know the economic numbers.

Michael Davis has answered that question. He’s an economics professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology, down the road in Rolla. Davis teamed up with Xavier University psychology professor Christian End to nail down just how much winning sports teams generate in purchases, consumption and increased productivity. After all, happiness from any aspect of life translates into more positive energy at work. And we all know, sports teams can make people quite happy.

The bottom line is this: The per capita income increases by $120 in the team’s local community, according to the professors’ study. The reason is greater productivity.

“If productivity increases, at least some of the increased business income should flow to the workers in the form of increased wages,” the study report reads.

The professors used a complicated equation called an econometric method. The results showed that technically the Super Bowl only amounts to $20 in extra income per person. The greater impact is in the months, and wins, leading up to the final game. The study concludes a team winning 10 or 11 games in the season will generate about $100 additional income per person in the metropolitan statistical area.

It might be a wash, though, for individuals, because the study also pointed to increased sales and consumption while rooting on their favorite teams throughout the year.

To be fair, Davis and End’s study results were published in early 2010 in the journal Economic Inquiry. The report is titled, “A Winning Proposition: The Economic Impact of Successful National Football League Franchises.”

And they weren’t the first to try to crack the code on Super Bowl economics. Other prior studies I found showed income increases of $50-$60 per person and $140 per person.

In either case, happy fans equal happy workers throughout a city, and happy workers are more productive and thus rewarded more for increasing results at work.

On the other side of the coin, it’s estimated the Super Bowl game costs employers over $5 billion. How? Lost productivity due to distractions, time off and extended office talk the week leading up to and the day following the big game, according to executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Was your office environment full of Chiefs talk or missing staff members during K.C.’s playoff run? Probably so. I also knew several people who took the day off to attend the celebration parade the Wednesday following the Super Bowl.

The researchers even wonder if it’s time for a Super Bowl holiday. Chew on that in your office.

And don’t forget, the St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup win last year makes Missouri back-to-back title holders. The economic impact isn’t nearly as great for the less popular NHL.

But it begs the question: Will the St. Louis Cardinals or Kansas City Royals give Missouri three sports championships in a row? Baseball season is right around the corner.

Springfield Business Journal Editorial Director Eric Olson can be reached at eolson@sbj.net.

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