Indianapolis loses more money than expected hosting Super Bowl

Those in the convention and tourism business say the Super Bowl is already reaping benefits.

The final numbers are in. It turns out the city's Capital Improvement Board lost more money than it expected hosting Super Bowl XLVI.

CIB president Ann Lathrop calls it a small financial loss that was well worth the investment.

Monday afternoon, Lathrop said the CIB took in nearly $2.9 million more in hospitality taxes the first two months of this year over last year, which was just four percent below projections.

"We were off a little bit in hotel motel taxes, but were over in food and beverage and auto rental," Lathrop said.

With expenses slightly more than projected, the CIB wound up losing roughly a million dollars hosting the Super Bowl - or $250,000 more than expected.

The single biggest expense it incurred was paying for the added police and fire protection.

"If you think to spend $1 million on branding and the effort that generated for us, it's a pretty good return on the investment," she said.

Leonard Hoops, who heads the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association said the Super Bowl was already paying off. He said in the first quarter of 2011, there were 390,000 lead room nights. That's where convention and meeting planners ask a city to bid on hosting an event. Hoops said during the first quarter of 2012, lead room nights jumped to 998,000, or a 156% increase.

He said about a third of inquiries lead to new business. Given that formula, he said Indianapolis could expect to gain an extra $300 million in convention business over the next ten years.

Another area that saw a bump was media exposure. The ICVA's Chris Gahl said all of last year, there about 2,000 published pieces on Indianapolis versus 2,200 for the one month surrounding the Super Bowl.

Lathrop said coming in $250,000 over budget isn't much when you consider the benefits. As for where that money will come from, she said, "Keep in mind our operating budget is in excess of $100 million, so if you add $250,000 more, though that's significant... it's something we can figure out a way to absorb."

As a condition of hosting the Super Bowl, the CIB agreed to cover the cost of added police and fire protection. The Department of Public Safety projected the cost to be $4 million, which is what the CIB budgeted for. The final invoice is for just under $3.6 million. Most of that was for personnel. The savings came from less money spent on vehicles.

The additional expenses that were not included in the original budget were for insurance, legal fees and snow removal equipment. Lathrop said the CIB initially thought those expenses would be covered by the NFL, but they were not in the final contract.