When the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks compete for NFL bragging rights in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday (Feb. 1), the game will draw tens of thousands of spectators to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and millions more will watch on television.

But what it won’t do, in the view of Brad Humphreys, an associate professor of economics at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, is have any tangible impact on the economy.

Humphreys, who specializes in studying sports and economics, has researched the economic impact of postseason play in professional sports, co-authoring a 2002 study in the Journal of Sports Economics, which concluded that hosting an event like the Super Bowl doesn’t really affect the local economy.

“Cities have a fixed capacity to accommodate out-of-town visitors, based on hotel rooms, restaurant seats, transportation, and other fixed capital. If cities operate close to this capacity, then the ‘economic impact’ of the Super Bowl simply replaces, or crowds out, spending by others who do not visit the city because of the Super Bowl,” Humphreys said.

His work has helped the College of B&E reach No. 6 ranking in the world as of January 2014 in the IDEAS/RePEc, a service hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that ranks economists, economics departments and economics journals based on research output. The ranking placed WVU in the “top 10 percent institutions and economists in the field of sports and economics.”

Dr. Humphreys is available for further comment and expert analysis of the Super Bowl and others events and issues related to sports economics at 304.293.7871 or Brad.Humphreys@mail.wvu.edu.



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