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With One Month Until Super Bowl LI, Houston Is Ready

One month from today, 150,000 people will descend on Houston for Super Bowl LI. We spoke with Houston Super Bowl Committee chairman Ric Campo and board member Nick Massad Jr. to find out how the Houston area built 40,000-plus new hotel rooms and invigorated its Downtown in preparation for 1 million people to enjoy 10 days of festivities. 


Massad, Convention Visitors Bureau chairman, a member of the Super Bowl Committee and American Liberty Hospitality CEO, said Houston has dramatically increased its room count since it last hosted the Super Bowl in 2004. Downtown, the focal point of activity through the festivities even though the game will be held eight miles south, has increased the number of hotel rooms there by 63%. In total, the Houston area will have 84,000 rooms.

Occupancy really depends on the teams facing off. If it's an easy drive, people will come. So (brace yourselves, Texans fans) the biggest positive impact would be from the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. "If Dallas makes it, everyone and their mother will come to Houston, just to be here. Every hotel from Conroe to Galveston and from Beaumont to Scholenberg is going to be booked."


Preliminary occupancy numbers are strong. Massad (pictured) said American Liberty's properties are sold out, a common theme across the city. There's typically a three- to four-night minimum with a required deposit so it's guaranteed income at this point, which Massad said helps to protect the business interest of the hotel. 

Airbnb is in the picture as well. As CEO Of Camden, one of the country's largest multifamily owners, Campo knows apartment renters will be trying to cash in on the single biggest day in American sports. He's seen his share of residents break their lease agreements by offering space on Airbnb. He understands the mindset, but urged residents to consider the risk and regulations before making such decisions.


All around the city, hotels, bars, restaurants and other venues are prepping for the storm of visitors. At the convention center, which will host the NFL Experience, a 97k SF plaza dubbed Avenida Houston (rendered here) has been finished, with five new restaurants and art installations. The Marriott Marquis just delivered 1,000 rooms (and a Texas-shaped rooftop lazy river) next door. ESPN will soon occupy Midtown Park, where the network will anchor coverage.


The Super Bowl Committee has been working off a $63M budget from corporate donations and out-of-state hotel taxes. The entire City of Houston's yearly tourism budget could buy a 90-second ad during the Super Bowl, but Campo (here) said hosting will do much more. The city's projected to earn between $44M and $48M in net tax revenue as 150,000 visitors rent hotel rooms, eat at restaurants and hit the stores. On average, every visitor is expected to spend $400/person/day.

Should everything go as planned, the region will net $350M in economic impact and regional nonprofits could get $4M through the NFL's Charitable Giving program.

Learn more about Houston's hotel scene and the Super Bowl's impact on it at Bisnow's Houston Hospitality Boom event Jan. 18. Register here.