Calculating Impact of NFL Playoff Games in the COVID Era

Green Bay, WI, USA: How we used the Event Impact Calculator to estimate reduced impact numbers during pandemic attendance

Green Bay is Wisconsin’s oldest settlement. Located right on the Great Lakes of the U.S., Green Bay is a major shipping center with many contributions to industry and agriculture. It is also the smallest city to host a “big four” professional sports franchise. Founded in 1919, the 13-time National Champion Green Bay Packers is the only NFL team that is owned by its fans. 

Destination Profile

POPULATION
264,000
in Brown County, Wisconsin
BUDGET SIZE
US$2.3 million
LEARN MORE
Website

Approach to Using the EIC 

With the global pandemic and the impact it had on Packers home games, we were curious how the two NFL Playoff games impacted our area. The two games – NFC Divisional (vs Rams) on Saturday, January 16th and the NFC Championship Game (vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) on Sunday, January 24th saw 6,500 season-ticket holders allowed into the stadium. In addition, another 3,000+ of local health care and public safety staff made for approximately 10,000 total fans in the stadium.

We used STR reports to get an estimate on the 6,500 ticketholders and how many possibly stayed in a hotel. Our occupancy numbers were in the mid-30’s for most of the prior weeks. From those numbers, it was trial and error to formulate a number that made sense. Going on an assumption that 80,000 spectators is $15 million for EI, we also attempted to get the EI number at about 10%, seeing as the spectators' numbers were about 10% of capacity. It should be noted that 87% of “normal” Packer game attendance is from outside Brown County. The two playoff games were also on different days, making the need to look at both the night before and the night of the game important. Friday/Saturday for Divisional game and Saturday/Sunday for NFC Championship game. 

Lambeau Field with socially distant COVID-19 crowd

Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI with a socially distant crowd of about 10,000 attendees

Lambeau Field with Green Bay Packers crowd

Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI in pre-COVID-19 times

Learning Experience 

The challenge was to figure out how many of the 6,500 were from out of town and potentially stayed in a hotel. We utilized STR reports for a look at our numbers from the two days. Going on the EIC numbers for “normal” home games and the impact being $15 million, the challenge was using the Event Impact Calculator to come up with a 2021 number. We also did not have a zip code breakdown of the 6,500 tickets. Having the zip code breakdown of the season-ticket holders could have given us a better example of the overnight potential.  

"Some EIC numbers are going to be trial and error. When I run a calculation, I always try different numbers and see the results. When I get one that I think makes sense, I name the saved calculation as the various indicator that I changed." - Joel Everts, Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau

We know that people from out of town came to the game and stayed in hotels. We also didn’t know if the ticketholders guests were local or from out-of-town. Using the STR numbers was the best potential to get a good estimate, as this at least showed the increase in Occupancy and ADR for the two days of the game. 

Some EIC numbers are going to be trial and error. When I run a calculation, I always try different numbers and see the results. When I get one that I think makes sense, I name the saved calculation as the various indicator that I changed. For example, I name the calculation NFC Champ 20% (which stands for 20% overnight). I recommend users always ensure that someone knows how they came about calculating an EIC. At least users should talk through the result with those who could be speaking with media and/or other stakeholders in the community. 

How can a destination organization use the EIC to its advantage? 

Our CVB has become the go-to in the community when media wants to know, “What is the economic impact?” While the media did not ask for these playoff games, there was potential to have those numbers available. Even without being asked, I normally take random events and run an EIC, with the “just in case” mentality. 

I have also talked to a few destinations as to how they calculated an EIC for a sports event that we have both hosted. Thankfully, the destination I had contacted also uses the EIC through Tourism Economics, so we were able to share our calculators and see how our inputs compared & differed.

My final tip is to encourage everyone to play around with the EIC and how it works for your community. For example, we know we don’t have the capabilities for peak room nights over 4500, so the EIC data entry has to be adjusted.

About the Author

Joel Everts headshot
Joel Everts
Destination Sports Manager
Greater Green Bay CVB
Joel has been with the Greater Green Bay CVB for 17 years, and in the sports tourism industry for over 20. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Communication/Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, with a focus on Advertising. He is a 39-year cancer survivor, having lost his left leg in 1982.