City of Champions

New Orleans continues to attract mega sporting events, financial windfalls of more than $1 billion


When news broke in May that New Orleans was the only city invited to bid on hosting Super Bowl LVIII and NFL owners awarded the game, to be played in 2024, it was yet another prize for the Big Easy’s growing trophy case and another feather in the cap of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation (GNOSF), a nonprofit 501(c) (4) organization whose mission is to attract and manage sporting events that have a positive economic impact on the Greater New Orleans area.

In its 30-year history, the Sports Foundation has worked with the NFL, NBA, NCAA, AAU, numerous professional and amateur organizations, WWE and public and private partners to bring Super Bowls, College Football National Championship Games, Final Fours, All-Star Games, Junior Olympic Games, Bassmaster Classics, Wrestlemania and Olympic Trial events to New Orleans. The GNOSF has brought hundreds of events to the city and turned a $40 million public investment into a $3 billion economic impact for the state of Louisiana and the Greater New Orleans area.

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“That’s a significant amount of return on investment for Louisiana,” said Jay Cicero, GNOSF president and CEO. “It’s very satisfying to be able to look at the numbers that are generated for these major events and that’s fulfilling the mission of the organization.”

The Sports Foundation’s success has not led the organization to rest on its laurels. Events lured by the GNOSF are projected to make an economic impact of more than $803 million in the next four years, with five major events on the books or in the bidding process. Super Bowl LVIII will likely push that total north of $1.2 billion in total economic impact, including $48.8 million in state taxes.

New Orleans hasn’t hosted the NFL’s championship game since 2013, when Super Bowl XLVII generated an estimated $434 million economic impact, with $15.2 million in state tax dollars.

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With Saints owner Gayle Benson and president Dennis Lauscha, the GNOSF began working on the Super Bowl bid in November. NFL owners approved the game for New Orleans after Benson and Lauscha made a 10-minute presentation at the annual owners meeting in Atlanta in May. It will be the eleventh time the city has hosted the championship game.

An added unaccounted benefit comes to the city and state in the form of media coverage before, during, and after each event. There were 5,205 credentialed members of the media in town for a week during the Super Bowl in 2013.

“To put a value on that positive media coverage is close to impossible,” Cicero said. “The Super Bowl is the biggest of the big as far as events that travel around the country that are bid upon by cities, states, and organizations like the Sports Foundation. It really does feel good that we are delivering something to the state of Louisiana that has such a high economic impact and exposure.”

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Super City

New Orleans is famed as a host of major sporting events. Championship sporting events are expected to create an economic impact of more than $1.2 billion and create state tax revenue in excess of $48 million over the next seven years.

Event    Economic Impact    State Taxes
2018 WrestleMania    $142 million    $6.2 million
2019 ESPN X Games (Bid Submitted)    $100 million    $5 million
2020 College Football Championship    $250 million    $8 million
2020 NCAA Women’s Final Four    $43 million    $2.1 million
2020 ESPN X Games (Bid Submitted)    $100 million    $5 million
2022 NCAA Final Four    $168 million    $7.3 million
2024 Super Bowl    $434 million*    $15.2 million*
Totals    $1.2 billion     $48.8 million

*Figures based on Super Bowl XLVII in 2013




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