Downtown Atlanta has transformed into football central for Super Bowl LIII with multiple stages popping up and banners for events hanging on every other street corner. The countdown to one of the biggest games of the football season has finally arrived, and football fans can hardly wait.
This weekend, all of Atlanta will be a bustle of energy with football fans filling bars and restaurants across the city. According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber Super Bowl Economic Impact Q&A fact sheet, “the event will primarily benefit the hospitality industry.” The city estimates approximately $400 million in an economic surge for businesses big and small.
The impact trickles down to small businesses looking to welcome in out-of-towners like Amsterdam Café. The restaurants co-owner, Joel Bradshaw, said on game day they will host a Super Bowl party and they expect big crowds. “We’re very excited,” Bradshaw said about the city’s third opportunity to host the Super Bowl.
Amsterdam Café and other businesses can house hundreds of out-of-towners with large televisions broadcasting the big game and if the weather is ideal, patios with televisions as well. On Sunday, because of an anticipated crowd, Bradshaw added that they will not be taking reservations and the 400 seats will be first come first serve.
He reminisces on one past experience where sports ruled the city. The 2013 Final Four NCAA Basketball Tournament, pumped more than $70 million into the economy with more than 100,000 visitors pouring into the metro for the event.
“The city did an awesome job for its Final Four,” Dr. Michael Smith with Emory University said during an interview with The Patch when Atlanta was first selected to host Super Bowl 53 in 2016. “It’s one thing to get people who are not from here, to spend money here. But if it’s just us, going out and spending money at a Super Bowl village instead of going to the movies or going bowling, that doesn’t do the regional economy any good. It’s just a transfer of wealth, and we really want this event to have a more far-reaching impact.”
Jen and Jami Maguire, owners of My Sisters Room, have a plan in place for the big game day to make sure they’re ready for a big crowd. MSR is usually known for their Sunday fun day, so add the biggest game of the year into the mix and you’ll get some of the most energetic crowds in the metro. They’re expecting hundreds of people, so to handle the masses they will have extra security on hand and a plan in place if things get out of hand.
For other spaces, like Woofs Atlanta and Midnight Moon Atlanta, it will be business as usual but with all televisions on the Super Bowl action. An employee at Woofs, one of the only gay sports bars in Atlanta, said they’re expecting a large crowd to turn out to watch the game.
But getting to and from your hotel or home to your favorite bar will be a problem for hundreds of thousands. City officials say if you’re thinking about driving, think again. Taking public transit like MARTA will help lighten congestion from out-of-town travelers and using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft will also reduce traffic on the roadways.
This week, Lyft announced their comprehensive transportation plan for locals and out-of-town guests as they make their way around the city before and after the game on Feb. 3. According to the company’s press release, “this plan includes a five-times boost for Delta Miles earned on Lyft rides, a substantial offer for rides to and from MARTA stations, easy-to-use e-scooter rental, and convenient pick-up and drop-off locations throughout the city.”
Lyft has long-term relationships with many of Atlanta’s most popular spots for visitors says the rideshare company. “The city is working hard to make sure it’s as simple as possible to get around Atlanta during this time, and we want to support that mission in any way we can,” said Sam Bond, general manager of Lyft southeast. “Whether you’re a lifelong Atlantan or this is your first trip to the ATL, we hope you look to Lyft to help you navigate our city and focus on having a great time during this amazing celebration of football.”
Many roads are closed near downtown and in Atlantic Station for Super Bowl festivities and parking lots are utilizing their space to make even more money. One Atlanta resident posted on Facebook stating his parking garage posted signs telling monthly subscribers they couldn’t park in the building between January 30 and February 4 because of Super Bowl crowds.
From parking to hotels, the city says they’re ready, but the final assessment will come after a new Super Bowl champion is crowned. After this weekend comes to a close, a final tally by the city will show just how positive or negative of an impact this massive sporting event will have on the city. Small business owners in the LGBTQ community are hopeful for a spike in revenue to help drive business along in 2019.