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.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    Expecting them to associate it with Glendale is like expecting people to know the difference between Chaska and Minneapolis when they watch The Ryder Cup next year.

    • That’s why they included Phoenix.

      • kevinfromminneapolis

        I know, that’s what I mean.

  • KTN

    Does Minneapolis currently have an image problem around the country? I mean, other than making fun of our winters, I don’t really see how a football game can make people suddenly think “man, was I wrong about Mpls – it is a great place even with those winters, and how about all those new stadiums”.

    • jon

      Does the cities image even matter?
      Do people see the Superbowl and think… Minneapolis… huh, lets go there and spend some money… A lot of money… maybe we can play electronic pull tabs, and fund that stadium we saw on TV.

      Or is a cities image really only meaningful when it is constantly high (New York), or constantly low (Detroit).

      I mean I’ve known people who’ve wanted to move to New York because it’s New York… I’ve never met any one who wanted to move to Detroit because it’s Detroit (well not in recent history) but if we get a bump in our image… then I guess any one trying to decide where to vacation or live or hold national conventions right after the Superbowl might come here… Sure if they have a good time maybe we can maintain a high image… but some how I don’t think that just exposing people to the fact that there is a city of Minneapolis is going to have any major impact on much of anything.
      And even telling them we exists… we are the 16th largest metropolitan area in the country… any one who knows about large cities in the US knows about Minneapolis… just like they know about Seattle, or Oakland…

    • Jack

      Maybe ‘boost’ money can go to building more mental health facilities.
      I’ve learned from experience that those who want to give an unsolicited boost usually have a hidden agenda. A Trojan Horse thing. I have ended up on the floor in worse financial conditions from gifted *boost*.

  • John

    Anybody else planning to go on vacation during the runup to the super bowl in 2018? I think I want to be out of town when this happens.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      I thought the same thing in 2008 before the GOP convention. I live about 2 miles from the Xcel Center. Aside from the fact you couldn’t go downtown for a week or so, it turned out to be much less of a hassle than I thought it would be. It was kind of fun to try and figure out if the cable news buses/RVs were lost in our neighborhood or just trying to get back to the highway.

      • Complete disaster for St. Paul businesses.

      • Oh, you could go downtown, in fact I was at a show at the Fitz the first night of the GOP convention.

        It was surreal what with a front-end loader parked out front of the Fitz and police in riot gear dropping teargas only a block or two up the street. Several of the performers took a break from the show to stand and watch what was happening. We just stood there thinking “This isn’t what St. Paul is about.”

        Also – Most of the conventioneers stayed in Minneapolis and were shuttled over…

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I think it will be interesting to see if Arizona gets some additional tourists in the next few months from the exposure. I don’t know if the AZ’s equivalent of “Explore Minnesota” plans to try and track that, but I think it would be worthwhile to do it here. If they show the lake country (warm weather pics as well as winter ones) and other tourist regions of the state and business picks up over the next year, then there’s a bounce. No change or decreases in tourism, then the next time somebody suggests this there will be real numbers to throw at them.

  • Dave

    what percent of super bowl viewers even know which city is hosting it? of those, what percent care?

    • J9Studt

      After the game 16% of Americans and 20% of SB watcher knew it was Glendale. Far more associated the game with AZ generally.

  • What’s lost in the data is the fact that the Phoenix area is a hellhole.

    /But it’s a dry heat.

    • I love going down there for spring training, though.

      • Not a Twins fan?

        /Get the tar and feathers ready!!!


  • Jim G

    I think the question to ask is who benefits and profits from hosting the Super Bowl. The local power players have to be celebrating tangible and lucrative short-term private profits while local governments will be responsible for providing public services and security free of charge.

  • L. Foonimin

    “… Minneapolis who charmed the NFL into awarding the 2018 Super Bowl to the city …” wouldn’t it be more accurate to say Minneapolis gave away to the NFL, any hope of enhanced revenue for the area

  • Jeff

    Besides public perception isn’t there a benefit to having the movers and shakers here for the game? They see what a kind, intelligent, and industrious people we are (with abundant culture and nightlife!) and move their high tech widget factory here.

    Otherwise, I watched most of the game and didn’t have any feel-good or bad moments about the locale. I agree with @jon – everyone already knows about Phoenix, New Jersey or whereever they decide to hold it.

    P.S. Goodell isn’t getting my parking spot. I’m not that nice.

  • RF Jim

    From an MPR/Tim Nelson story in Jan 2014:

    “The Super Bowl in Indianapolis a couple of years ago brought $324 million to that city and that area,” Dayton said at a press conference as he introduced the team he named to make a bid for the game. “And we expect more than that in 2018 if we’re successful.

    “By attracting visitors from other states and countries, a Super Bowl likely would bring the Twin Cities nearly $500 million, said Dayton, who introduced Ecolab CEO Doug Baker and US Bank CEO Richard Davis as chairs of the event. Joining them will be former Carlson Cos. CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson — who helped lead the state’s bid for the 1992 game.

    Where will Minneapolis keep all the money? Will they have to add on more bank vaults, or just pile it in closets like Indianapolis and Glendale did?

  • davehoug

    Look at the track record before looking at high hopes.