For the first time in 29 years, Los Angeles will host the Super Bowl. And some of the trickle-down economics associated with the game, which kicks off February 13 at the new $5 billion SoFi stadium in Inglewood, are predictably hyperbolic.
Barring a pandemic lockdown or a shift in venue to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (under consideration by the NFL if conditions in L.A. deteriorate), economists predict the game will generate around $477 million for Los Angeles County in tax revenue, hotel rooms, day spending, and other activities, while creating between 2,000 and 5,000 jobs across the region.
But it won’t all be good clean fun. The American Gaming Association predicts that more than 23 million Americans will place at least $4.3 billion in legal and illegal bets on the game this year and imbibe more than $2 billion worth of alcohol. A five-year study of Los Angeles highway data showed a 57 percent increase in alcohol-related car accidents on Super Bowl Sundays compared with a typical Sunday; analysts say a host city should expect an even steeper increase. Unsurprisingly, men between the ages of 21 and 34—the NFL’s majority demographic—are the most likely to drive drunk that night.
Super Bowls are breathlessly portrayed in the media as massive human-trafficking events, with as many as 100,000 prostitutes descending on the host city’s hotel bars each year. But many studies dispute that. Blair Hopkins of the Sex Worker Outreach Project insists the reverse is actually the case, because stepped-up police scrutiny during the weekend deters pros. “Anyone who is in the [sex] industry is going to take their work elsewhere,” Hopkins says.
And not many johns could afford to shell out for sex after scoring a ticket to this year’s game. Tickets purchased through On Location, the NFL’s official hospitality provider, range from $5,950 for seats in the nosebleeds to $17,940 on the sidelines. A $55,520 seat in the primo Section 110, closest to the field, yields free drinks and mingling on the field postgame with the winners. Carrying no official price-—in the if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it tradition—is a postgame party catered by Wolfgang Puck, special events featuring NFL Hall of Famers and Super Bowl champions Troy Aikman and Steve Atwater, and a seat at the NFL Honors Ceremony to watch the crowning of the 2021 MVP.
For an egalitarian $249 ($1,100 VIP), Shaquille O’Neal’s Shaq’s Fun House party at the Shrine Auditorium on Super Bowl Friday offers Lil Wayne, Zedd, and Diplo, as well as comfort-food from Roscoe’s, Pink’s, and Diddy Riese. All of which is a far cry from the first-ever Super Bowl, held at L.A. Memorial Coliseum in 1967, when you could snag a decent seat for around $12.
Los Angeles–based NBCUniversal, which is airing this year’s game, announced before the season even started that it had nearly sold out its TV-commercial slots, with some 30-seccond spots going for $6.5 million and more. The estimated 106 million television viewers will have Jay-Z and his Roc Nation enterprise to thank for assembling a halftime show laden with West Coast rap legends Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Mary J. Blige and Eminem.
Finally, no Super Bowl would be complete without tailgating, but while the Rams allow the tradition, the Super Bowl does not. For fans who just can’t cope without a watery Sea Breeze served from the back of a Land Rover, Tailgater Concierge will operate in the SoFi parking lot on game day, where, for $450, you can lounge outside on leather couches, drink cocktails, and eat as much as you can stand.
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