How Minneapolis Retailers Are Prepping For the Super Bowl LII Rush

Mall of America
A Super Bowl banner greets shoppers at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Rex Shutterstock

As Minneapolis prepares for Super Bowl LII, the city is anticipating an influx of fans from across the country to witness the Philadelphia Eagles take on the reigning champs, the New England Patriots. While the focus might be on the game itself, the NFL’s biggest sporting event of the year can expect to rally an estimated 125,000 people — and upward of 1 million leading up to the game — in the Twin Cities, greatly impacting the local food, hotel and even retail industries.

According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, Americans are predicted to spend $15.3 billion on the Super Bowl, with 82 percent of those who plan to watch the game saying they will buy food and drinks and 11 percent intending to purchase team apparel and accessories.

“Whether throwing their own party, heading to a friend’s house or gathering at their favorite bar or restaurant, consumers are ready to spend on the big game,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Super Bowl shoppers will find retailers well-stocked on decorations, apparel, food and all other necessities to cheer on their favorite team.”

As for Minneapolis itself, the anticipated tourism spike means good news for the locals. When the host city was first named, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development estimated that visitors will contribute $324 million to the city’s economy. A survey conducted by digital marketing firm Valassis reports that 43 percent of consumers will primarily shop through local retailers and grocers, and 52 percent prefer to travel less than four miles for these purchases.

“Shopping around Sunday’s big game presents a valuable opportunity for restaurants and retailers of all sizes to boost sales and start the new year strong,” chief marketing officer Curtis Tingle added. “Small, local businesses should expect to see the biggest gains as consumers value convenience and proximity above all else when it comes to hosting parties for this event.”

Destinations that can expect to draw customers include athletic retailers as well as local sporting goods stores that sell team merchandise; the downtown Nicollet Mall, which plans to host Verizon’s 10-day Super Bowl LIVE Festival with concerts, vendors and an ice rink; and stores at the Mall of America — especially among fans who want to catch sight of their favorite team players, with the Patriots and the Eagles staying at the nearby Marriott and Radisson, respectively.

And even though an estimated 188.5 million are predicted to watch the game live, that’s not to say all potential consumers won’t be engaging in the great American pastime, particularly as purchasing power continues to grow even as viewership numbers remain steady.

“Consumers are carrying strong spending momentum from the holiday season into their Super Bowl festivities,” Phil Rist, EVP of strategy at Prosper, said in a statement. “Fans aren’t afraid to spend a few extra dollars to make this year’s game the best one yet.”

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