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Cincinnatians turn out to bars more often than sports fans in other NFL cities during the Super Bowl, but it doesn’t provide as much of a boost to business as you might think.
Bars and restaurants in Cincinnati see a 36 percent bump in traffic during the Super Bowl, according to a data dive by Womply, a tech company that monitors transaction data at more than 4 million small businesses.
That’s a lot higher than the national average for football’s biggest game. Of all 32 NFL cities, the average bump in business during the Super Bowl is 1 percent.
“You have this vision in your head of the Super Bowl pushing people into bars and restaurants, hanging out with their buddies,” Womply spokesman Brad Plothow told me. “We wanted to see if that was true or how much was people hanging out at home and ordering pizza.”
Womply looked at the average dollar figure and number of transactions at bars and restaurants on Sundays during the NFL season. The company plans on doing something similar during March Madness this year.
Cincinnati in 2017 saw the third-largest bump in restaurant and bar traffic during the Super Bowl behind Boston – whose New England Patriots were in the big game – and Houston, which hosted it. Those cities saw an 58 and 48 percent bump in bar business, respectively.
Surprisingly, Plothow said, both the Pro Bowl and the divisional playoffs saw higher spikes in restaurant and bar traffic than the Super Bowl, both nationally and in Cincinnati.
The 2017 Pro Bowl saw a 5 percent increase in bar and restaurant traffic nationally and an 83 percent increase in Cincinnati. The divisional playoffs saw a national increase of 18 percent, which included a 107 percent increase in Cincinnati.
“That was pretty mind-blowing,” Plothow said. “This isn’t a one-off. There’s some kind of behavioral pattern in Cincinnati.”