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Does A Super Bowl Victory Boost The Economy?

KUOW Photo/Deb Wang
Tom McMaster, of Just Sports in Alderwood Mall, hangs more "12th Man" uniforms. The success of the team has made them hot commodities.

It feels great to win the Super Bowl, especially if you sell beer, T-shirts or season tickets. But that's not what people mean when they talk about a boost to the region's economy. And when you consider the businesses that will close for Wednesday's parade and the employees who will disappear to see that parade, there may even be a downside to winning the Super Bowl.

Chris Mefford is president of Community Attributes, which looks at local economies. He's also on the parade route and expects that many of his employees will vanish for part of the day on Wednesday.

"I imagine they'll want to spend time on the streets instead of the billable work that we do," he said, adding he's not concerned about it because the work will still get done.

But true economic impact doesn't result from immediate spending decisions happening right now in the city; it happens when money flows into Seattle's economy from the outside.

"Certainly there are measurables, like how much beer we sold and how much Skittles we sold, but the true economic impact of the Super Bowl is really going to be about the long-term increase in our global brand recognition of what is Seattle," said Eric Schinfeld, chief of staff at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which was temporarily renamed the Seahawks Chamber.

A worldwide positive view of Seattle can translate into increased tourism, new employers moving to the city, and new investment, he said. And those decisions start with a "gut feeling" about where those businesses want to be.

Having a Super Bowl-winning team is just one part of that picture.