Super Bowl LVI could be a strong barometer for how quickly Los Angeles County recovers after a two-year pandemic that ravaged the local economy.

Estimates from the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board predict that the Super Bowl weekend will infuse anywhere from $230 million up to $475 million into Los Angeles.

“It is going to be a huge turning point in writing our comeback story for our economic recovery,” Adam Burke, president & CEO at Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, told L.A. Weekly. “Honestly, that’s going to help get our friends and neighbors back to work.”

The Super Bowl attracts visitors from all over the world and could lead to a trickle-down effect that stimulates local businesses in a way that hasn’t happened since early 2020, before the pandemic. Burke said that the type of business that comes from an event such as the Super Bowl not only helps with short-term revenue, but with job creation, as well.

Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Charles Ng/Flickr)

After seeing eight consecutive years of economic growth in L.A. tourism, Burke said the 2020 pandemic put an end to the county’s streak in a dramatic way, with businesses forced to close and a majority of the 544,000 jobs related to tourism lost to pandemic business closures.

“For Los Angeles, I think one of the things that’s been the toughest throughout the past couple of years has been to see so many people out of work,” Burke said. “Unfortunately, when everything came to a standstill a couple of years ago, we saw a significant amount of Angelenos out of work, so that was incredibly heartbreaking for all of us to see.”

People are gradually getting back to work, as in December the Los Angeles jobs report showed an uptick in employment with 21,000 more people finding jobs, however, the unemployment rate is still higher than it was pre-pandemic, sitting at 6.5%.

Within a five-mile radius of SoFi stadium, a 144% increase in work shifts have already been shown in February, according to Instawork, an online network dedicated to job searching. The average hourly rate offered to employees in the area also has increased by 30%, from $19.92 in January to $24.97 in February.

Credit: File photo by Bastian Stein/Flickr

Credit: File photo by Bastian Stein/Flickr

Local businesses have an opportunity to meet the moment, with tourists coming into Los Angeles, and the Tourism Board said it is working with more than 1,000 businesses to make sure they have what they need to be “red carpet ready.”

“When you talk about being red carpet ready, L.A. pretty much always is red carpet ready, because we’re always in some type of major event, whether it be sports or entertainment,” Burke said. “I think that’s why we’re so excited about having the big game come to L.A., because it’s really going to help kickstart our economic recovery and our comeback story, and we are beginning to see that.”

The last time Los Angeles hosted a multi-day sporting event the scale of the Super Bowl, was in February 2018, when the NBA held its All-Star weekend festivities at the arena formerly known as the Staples Center.

These types of events are seen as economic drivers, with money coming into not just the venues, but local eateries, hotels and entertainment.

“The community impact that we’ve been able to make leading up to [the Super Bowl], we want to sustain that through the event,” Kathryn Schloessman, president and CEO at Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission told L.A. Weekly. “We’re back to normal, as far as capacity and doing things. Everybody’s back out doing it, nobody’s sitting at home. Everybody wants to be out. Everybody values these live experiences, probably more than they did before.”

Both the L.A. tourism board and Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission are working to inform visitors about the county’s dining experiences, entertainment events, art and museum attractions, as well as Super Bowl-specific festivities that are taking place through the weekend.

The ultimate goal is to encourage people back and show that pre-pandemic events and activities are still possible.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. (Dale Cruse/Flickr)

Perhaps one of the strongest visual aids to attract tourism will come from a $2.1 million Super Bowl ad spot that will be run by Visit California before the game.

Visit California invested a total of $22.1 million not only for the coveted commercial slot, but a campaign that will run on television through mid-May, with the ad concept similar to Disney California Adventure’s Soarin’ California attraction, where one is meant to feel as though they are hovering above California landmarks and experiences.

This is the first time Visit California has invested in a Super Bowl ad spot, showing that the state and city of Los Angeles are preparing to welcome people back, starting with the big game.

“I think that’s one of the things people need to recognize, is that because it is one of the world’s most diverse communities, people come from 140 different countries, we speak 220 different languages,” Burke said. “This has always been a place where people from around the globe can feel at home. As a result, people come here and they explore all the different neighborhoods of Los Angeles and all the different communities.”

LA Weekly