Local economists believe Colts' success won't affect Muncie commerce

With the Colts reaching for the Super Bowl, the local economy for Indianapolis and surrounding areas cannot be doing any better, some experts think.

However, economists doubt there are any effects from sport teams on local businesses.

Economics professor Stanley Keil said there is only a small additive to local businesses from Indianapolis and Muncie when the Colts play.

"Benefits are usually overestimated when it comes to sport teams. Supposing we have people from Baltimore to come and see the game, that's great," Keil said. "But it's only great for one or two nights."

Keil said for each home game there are few gains for local businesses. If the team plays at another city, there is a loss for the number of people that leave to the home city.

"Let's say there are $3 million injected to the economy of the region for each game," he said. "There's 1.5 million people in the metropolitan area, so if we divide the $3 million by the 1.5 million people, each person gets $2 for each home game."

Keil said economists see the gain as small because there are only eight games each season and the amount of money for each game does not contribute much.

In Muncie, the effects of the games are smaller than those for Indianapolis. The increase in number of hotels in Indianapolis makes it possible for more people to stay in Indianapolis, instead of the surrounding areas. Only some bars and restaurants in Muncie get more clients during games. 

Chris Pishe, owner of the Fickle Peach, said he expects regulars to go to the bar when the Colts play, but the increase is not very noticeable.

"We do have football followers. We see followers, but not as many," he said. "Some of the scheduled games are not bar-friendly either. No one would come and drink at noon."

For other businesses, another game means another busy weekend. Teya Emerson, bartender for the Locker Room, said she normally sees bigger crowds on Sundays.

"We've been showing all the games this season," she said. "We know there will be more people on weekends."

Bars and restaurants are getting ready for the Super Bowl, all expecting a good outcome of football fans.

"Last year, we had a buffet available and we had specials on drinks," Emerson said. "We do expect a lot of people for this year."

Keil said the effects are positive, and as long as there are home games and people go out, businesses will not suffer. But as with other football games, the Super Bowl will have a small effect on the economy, he said. Preparations for the 2012 Superbowl in Indianapolis will have a larger, long-term effect.

How the game could affect local business

  • The local economy is affected negatively if fans from other parts are not attracted to the home games.
  • The kind of jobs created by sports franchises are seasonal jobs, which are low-paying.
  • A large amount of money is lost building stadiums.
  • Many players and coaches don't spend time at team cities.
  • There is an advantage, however, when the team is doing well, but only when it's a home game.

Source: Stanley Keil, economics professor


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