Inglewood braces for business boom as Super Bowl LVI approaches
With Super Bowl LVI fast approaching, businesses in Inglewood are gearing up for a surge in customer traffic.
An estimated 100,000 to 150,000 out-of-town visitors are expected to arrive for the Feb. 13 game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, and they’ll be spending money at local restaurants , hotels, Airbnbs and dozens of other businesses.
How much money?
A recent report from Research and consulting in microeconomics predicts that Inglewood will see a positive economic impact of $23-52 million, with additional tax revenue of $900,000-1.8 million and an annual employment gain of 350-800 jobs.
On a larger scale, Los Angeles County stands to gain up to $477.5 million in economic benefits, according to the report.
What restaurants expect
Donte Hewett, Director of Sweet Red Peach bakery on South Prairie Avenue, expects a significant increase in business. The bakery, which offers a wide selection of homemade cakes, cookies and Southern specialty desserts, is already a favorite among locals.
“On a typical weekend we have a great turnout,” he said. “We open at 11 a.m. on Saturdays, but people start queuing around 10 a.m. to get in. There is usually a line that goes around the building.
Hewett said much of his weekend business came from fans attending SoFi games.
“Sometimes people come before a game, but most of them don’t want to leave food in their cars all day, so we get more people after the games are over,” he said. “We are normally open until 5pm on Sundays, but we will extend our hours if we are not full by then.”
Woody’s Bar-B-Que also expects an influx of Super Bowl LVI customers. But owner Roderick Phillips said his expectations were tempered by fears surrounding Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant.
“In the climate we find ourselves in right now… I just don’t know what to expect,” he said. “But we will be ready for anything.”
Philippe is not alone. A new survey from Goldman Sachs shows that 79% of small business owners are concerned about the continued impacts of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Seventy-one percent say the recent increase in COVID-19 cases has impacted their revenue, and 37% say their business has been forced to temporarily close or scale back operations due to the outbreak.
“We have a dining room with four tables and a long bar, but we prefer to keep it closed for now,” Phillips said. “We have three windows where people can order food and an area where they can eat outside. Our customers wear masks when ordering food.
Local businesses get a boost Super Bowl LVI Business Connect. The program identifies and supports small businesses owned by minorities, women, LGBTQ+ and veterans through professional development, networking and contract opportunities with the Super Bowl and beyond.
Hotels, Aibnbs set for surge
Visitors staying in hotels, Airbnb units and other accommodations will spend between $318.24 and $348.75 per night, with average stays of four days and three nights, according to Micronomics.
More recent figures from STR, a research and analytics firm for the hospitality industry, predicts that the average daily rate for hotel stays from Feb. 11-13 in the Los Angeles market will be $445 – the second highest for a Super Bowl weekend.
Blake Reiter, Director of Custom Forecasting at STR, offered additional projections in an interview with TravelDailyNews.
Reiter said Super Bowl hotel occupancy rates in Los Angeles are expected to average 89%, surpassing Tampa’s 82.4% average during last year’s Super Bowl, but below average. Miami’s 92.8% for Super Bowl 2020.
The influx of out-of-town visitors is unlikely to reach peak projections since the Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers, a team that reportedly brought dozens of Bay Area fans to the Big Game.
Desiree Peeples, who uses half of her duplex in Inglewood as an Airbnb rental, initially blocked rental dates around the time of the Super Bowl due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. But she has since reconsidered that question.
“I normally rent it for $250 a night, but I went online and saw quite a few other hosts had really raised their prices,” she said. “A few rent for $1,200 a night, which I can’t imagine! Sounds ridiculous, so now I’m thinking $400 a night.
Peeples said his rental is usually booked most of the time, although Super Bowl LVI generated more inquiries than usual.
“I got a lot of calls for Super Bowl weekend,” she said.
Airbnb has already reported an increase in bookings. Figures released last week by the home-sharing platform show that searches for stays in Los Angeles during Big Game Week have increased by 50% from October to November alone.
When Atlanta hosted the Super Bowl in 2019, local Airbnb hosts earned nearly $3.5 million, the company said.
Airbnb said Friday it has set up a region-wide customer support team to help resolve any issues that may arise over the next week in the greater Los Angeles area. The team will have a strong focus on the safety and security of hosts, guests and neighbors.
The home-sharing network stressed that it would ‘take a tough line on disruptive parties’ during the week of the big game and would also provide hosts tips on how to spot human trafficking.
‘The proof is in the pudding’
Micronomics’ economic projections seem to bode well for the Inglewood business community, but when the numbers were released late last year, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. added a caution :
“This is an economic study and projection,” he said. “Cities do the same thing every year. Income and expenses always turn out somewhat different in reality and are normally below expectations.
Butts, who freely describes SoFi as “the most magnificent stadium in the world,” acknowledged that the economic activity surrounding Super Bowl LVI will be significant. Yet he takes a wait-and-see approach.
“It will certainly be positive for the county and the region, although it will have to be determined who gets what in terms of jobs and sales tax revenue,” he said. “It should be spread fairly evenly…but we think the proof is in the pudding.”
Super Bowl LVI will also place heavy demands on local transportation companies as visitors travel to and from their hotels and local tourist destinations.
Maurice Brewster, Founder and CEO of Global Transportation Mosaic, thinks he will have to partner with other transport companies to handle the big crush of Super Bowl visitors. The San Jose-based company operates a local office in Inglewood and manages a fleet of 91 vehicles, including sedans, SUVs and executive vans, up to 54-passenger coaches.
“I have 116 employees and I anticipate that we will need to hire at least 25% more people than I currently have, but I can tell you that will be a virtual impossibility,” he said. “I’ve struggled to recruit people since mid-2021 when we started to feel COVID-19 was coming back.”
Brewster, who participated in the Goldman Sachs investigation, has contracted with the Los Angeles Super Bowl host committee to provide transportation for fans who purchase VIP packages for the game.
Mosaic provided transportation for fans attending Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, and Brewster said the big game is an event like no other.
“The Super Bowl is the best event I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. “It’s bigger than the Emmys and the Oscars because you’re talking about 70,000 to 80,000 fans, corporate sponsors… Hall of Famers. The demand for vehicles, people and logistics is huge.