Saints, Packers, Panthers NFL leaders driving hotel room revenue

Looks like Aaron Rodgers is quite the draw, with fans coming from far and wide to see him sling the ball around Lambeau Field. But before and after the game, they need a place to stay.

Precisely why STR set out to study the impact the National Football League has on the hotel industry. Top takeaway: The NFL has generated an average impact of $75 million on hotel room revenue during the past eight seasons, and in 2015, the NFL had a net impact of $77 million on hotel room revenue.

Hoteliers are certainly "Ready For Some Football!"

For the purposes of its analysis, STR matched every NFL game since 2008 with its respective home city to determine the impact on local hotels. Neutral site games, such as the Super Bowl, the International Series and Pro Bowl, were excluded. STR also determined normalized levels of demand and room rate performance based on weekly and monthly fluctuations as well as overall seasonality.

Here were some key findings:

  • In 2015, two franchises produced a room revenue impact of more than $10.0 million on their respective city’s hotels: the New Orleans Saints ($16.2 million) and Green Bay Packers ($11.1 million).
  • Four franchises produced a room revenue impact of $6.0 million or higher as a visiting team in 2015: the Carolina Panthers ($7.8 million), Chicago Bears ($6.4 million), Atlanta Falcons ($6.1 million) and Denver Broncos ($6.0 million).
  • The game between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers on December 6th was the most impactful game of the 2015 season with a net room revenue impact of $5.1 million.
  • In 2015, the highest impact game in terms of demand and room rate increases came between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys on 13 December. Occupied room nights in Green Bay increased 163.4 percent, while average daily rate increased 222.8 percent.
  • A significant portion of the NFL’s impact on hotel room revenue is determined by the schedule itself due to season-by-season changes. Key factors that determine the overall impact include the time of year, day of week, seasonality of the host market, strength and distance of each fan base and the overall importance of the game.
  • Some games have a negative impact on their market if they displace other business and/or discounted rates.
  • Stadiums located in smaller markets and suburban submarkets tend to be the most consistent in terms of positive impact: Green Bay, Wisc. (Packers); Orchard Park, N.Y. (Buffalo Bills); Landover, Md. (Washington Redskins); Glendale, Ariz. (Arizona Cardinals); and Arlington, Texas (Dallas Cowboys). However, due to the smaller hotel room population, the absolute impact is not always as significant compared to larger markets.

STR's Steve Hennis, who is the VP of consulting and analytics and worked with the data, said there were many data points that struck him, none the least being the influence of the Green Bay Packers. "The impact to Green Bay, which is notorious for selling out as soon as the schedule is announced, was the first wow," he said.

But it's not all about the Cheeseheads. "There was just a large volume of eureka-type moments," Hennis continued. "The biggest piece was understanding that impact from visiting teams is highly dependent on distance."

He cited "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys, which have a huge impact as a visiting team due to its rabid fan base and, conversely, other fan bases who love to see them lose (Washington Redskins fans would agree). "The Cowboys are known to have some of the best-traveled fans, and when you look at it on a map, they are one of the most remote teams relative to other NFL cities," Hennis said. The Cowboys play in Arlington, Texas, though their entire division opponents are the east coast—the Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

"So, if fans want to see an away game, they require an overnight stay in almost all cases," Hennis said.

For a hometown team, its the Crescent City that takes top prize. According to the data, the New Orleans Saints produced the largest room revenue lift in the 2015 regular season. However, "It’s important to note that the size of the market is a big factor there," Hennis said. "In terms of percentage impact, it would be Green Bay, which is one of the smallest NFL cities."

Still, the NFL isn't always the biggest game in town. "A game in San Diego during the height of convention season (Sep./Oct.) would likely have a negative impact on the market because fans could displace convention business," Hennis said. "In some cases, there's the simple fact that a game in the city may cause weekend social events (e.g. weddings, reunions, fundraisers) to shift to another venue."