Like New Orleans, the Cayman Islands economy figures to benefit from the Super Bowl.
Most bars and restaurants are gearing up for a busy weekend that could produce a lucrative return. Among them is Lone Star Bar and Grill, with manager Scotty McLean saying the Super Bowl will have a substantial impact.
“It’s one of the biggest days for us, the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl,” Mr. McLean said. “It’s a very necessary day, everyone that counts on sports would agree.
“It comes at a time when we lost most of the hockey season because of the strike and lost income from hockey,” he added.
The Super Bowl is the biggest annual event in American sports. This year’s game takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. On Sunday, 3 February, the Baltimore Ravens will battle the San Francisco 49ers to hoist the Lombardi trophy. CBS will televise the contest from 6.30pm.
For the host city, the Super Bowl is a big deal. According to Forbes, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates Super Bowl XLVII will generate US$185 million in direct visitor spending on items such as lodging, transportation, food, beverages and various tourism activities.
In Cayman, liquor stores have seen an increase in business. Jacques Scott is one of the major players in Grand Cayman, with sales and marketing manager Finlay Wilson stating revenue usually sees a boost.
“We hope to sell a ton of Coors Light in the bars,” Mr. Wilson said. “I’d say this time of year goes well for Coors and for us. We know our product is popular, sales go up significantly and the Super Bowl is important and good for business. All the bars are busy.
“Mind you, not everyone makes a lot of money,” he added. “Whoever spends the most generally gets the most customers. Often, there’s not a lot of profit with that.”
Super Bowl preparations
To prepare for the influx, most local establishments are increasing staff and offering specials. Game On, formerly Doghouse, has a tailgating party from 4pm at Grand Harbour with a $15 barbecue and deals on buckets and beers like Amstel and Heineken.
West Bay Road establishments such as Triple Crown Pub, Legendz and PD’s Bar will also offer discounted prices on beer. A fresh option will be the newly-opened Grand Pavilion Café and Lounge, which will have a large screen television outside in the pool area.
Mr. McLean said Lone Star will be bolstering its atmosphere to contend with competing bars.
“The Super Bowl is a great event with West Coast and East Coast teams,” he said. “Most sports fans can relate and get into it. If I wasn’t working, I’d be watching.
“We’re trying to make guests feel more comfortable for the game,” Mr. McLean said. “We’re bringing in more furniture, extra TVs and projectors. We’ll have triple staff and we’ll be ready.”
Supermarkets and speciality stores
Interestingly, the Super Bowl varies in importance for other businesses. While supermarkets like Foster’s Food Fair figure to have select items on sale, a financial boon will be nonexistent, said Woody Foster, managing director.
“We will see a modest amount of business, not a great deal,” Mr. Foster said. “The Super Bowl does not have a great impact for Foster’s as there is not a high impact in terms of sales.
“We have specials every week and the Super Bowl will fall in line with that,” he said. “Certain items will be on special.”
On the other hand, speciality shops like Sports Port Ltd. have been benefitting from the Super Bowl hype since the New Year. Owner Dan Hiryok states the apparel store has steadily increased its revenue.
“We definitely have a good week the week of the Super Bowl, with a 20 per cent increase in sales,” Mr. Hiryok said. “Several people put in Super Bowl orders that will come in before the Super Bowl. People are buying jerseys, polo shirts and other things.
“Business is doing good and the team stuff has really taken off with football, hockey and basketball in season,” he said.
Pizza and betting
The Super Bowl and food have a strong relationship. In the United States, Super Bowl Sunday is a de facto national holiday that sees the second largest day of food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day.
In Cayman, one of the staple foods is pizza and establishments like Gino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut state they sell, on average, about 200 pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday; most of which feature pepperoni. Locales such as XQ’s are encouraging people to dine-in and watch the game by offering 50 per cent off of pizzas after 3pm.
Aside from the game itself, the Super Bowl is renowned for being a spectacle. The halftime show features popular recording artists, with Beyonce headlining this year’s offering. The commercials are memorable and cost millions to air.
Betting is rampant with millions changing hands on a personal and professional level. There is an element of Super Bowl betting in Cayman, although the practice is illegal.
What is certain is that Super Bowl hype is a legitimate phenomenon in the local food and beverage industry. As Papa John’s Pizza franchise owner Matthew Wight proves, entrepreneurs have a personal interest in the game.
“The Super Bowl is a great day, one of the best sporting events of the year,” Mr. Wight said. “Pizza and beer – hard to go wrong! My favourite team is the New York Giants. I was five and a half when my dad carried me to Durty Reid’s to watch my first Super Bowl. The Giants beat the Denver Broncos (his team) in Super Bowl XXI in 1987 – since then they have been my team.
“I feel the Ravens will win this year’s Super Bowl. Joe Flacco is more experienced and it will be the perfect send off for one of the greatest defensive players ever, Ray Ray (Ray Lewis).”