Super Bowl provided no boost to host city’s image

The boosters in Minneapolis who charmed the NFL into awarding the 2018 Super Bowl to the city say the game will bring a boost to the city’s image that you can’t buy.

But it hasn’t happened that way for Glendale, Arizona, the host city of this year’s Super Bowl.

It was already fairly well documented the city has suffered financially for its interest in attracting pro sports, and a survey shows the area isn’t getting any boost in its image as a result of the Super Bowl, even though it was the highest watched TV show in history.

The research company Competitive Edge reports that its survey shows Glendale got no boost from the game, and Phoenix didn’t get much of one.


Phoenix, the big city directly south east of the Super Bowl site, only benefited in terms of raising its profile. After the game, 7 percent more Americans had an impression of Phoenix than did so before it. However, some negative attitudes crept up along with positive attitudes, so Phoenix cannot claim to have improved its image over the weekend.

One of the reasons neither city really benefitted is that few Super Bowl viewers actually associated the game with Glendale or Phoenix. Despite four different in-game references to Glendale playing host, only one-in-six Americans know that it was played there. Fifteen percent placed the Super Bowl in Phoenix. On the other hand, 41 percent said “Arizona” when asked where the game was played. NBC broadcaster Al
Michaels made seven references to the state throughout the game. There were an additional seven references to and visuals shown of the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and other Arizona desert features. They all made a big impression on viewers and possibly distracted viewers from the City of Glendale itself.

John Nienstedt, Sr., who started the survey in 2003, says it’s possible Arizona got a bounce, but his survey didn’t track the impact on the state’s image.

He says there have been only four times since he started the annual survey that the profile of the host city/area got a significant boost.


“Impressions deteriorate when Americans see something they don’t like: deluge in Miami in 2007, ice in Arlington in 2011,” he told me in an e-mail today.