A Frigid Texas Super Bowl: No Big Deal For the TV Audience, A Very Big Deal For the Local Economy

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An empty street in downtown Dallas

Courtesy Sean Gregory

There’s nothing worse than media whining about the frigid Super Bowl temperatures in Dallas, simply because reporters are used to trips to Miami and Arizona, and didn’t pack a winter coat. Especially during a week when journalists doing truly important work in Egypt are being attacked, detained, and threatened with death.

And if fewer people show up to the celebrity Super Bowl parties because they’d rather be holed up indoors, why should anyone care? If corporate honchos don’t see a return for sponsoring boondoggles, good luck finding anyone ready to shed a tear.

No doubt, the Super Bowl’s bad weather tales are fast becoming tiresome. But it’s worth remembering that when climate surprise befall mass sporting spectacles, real people get hurt. The overall economic impact of sports is often overstated. But at the micro level, it’s easy to see the effect.

When more people are in town, there will be more traffic for local small businesses, and a positive financial impact on those shops. When you stock up on inventory for these crowds, but they don’t show up because of airport closures and an unwillingness to just linger outdoors, you take a hit.

Right now, many shops are facing such struggles. Just a few days before the game, downtown Dallas should be packed, giving the city a big-event feel. But a quick walk around the city reveals an icy ghost-town. There’s not a hint of Super Bowl buzz. “Things are slower now than it is during a normal week,” says Sayo Feratovic, who owns a downtown pizzeria. “The steady work crowd isn’t as big because of the weather, and the people for the game aren’t here yet.” Such sentiment is commonplace. “We prepared for big crowds coming here, you know” says Sue Chung, who owns a cheesesteak joint. “We’re not busy at all. It’s waaaay slower than we thought.”

If you’re lucky enough to afford a trip to the big game, and are going through some inconveniences, don’t complain. But get here as quickly as possible. Lots of people are depending on you.