By ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The return of the Super Bowl to the Los Angeles area after an absence of nearly 30 years is already a big win for local small business owners like Kyndra McCrary.
His catering company was hired to provide food for performers working at the Super Bowl and for an NFL business networking event last week.
The jobs are a financial boost for McCrary, whose business is still getting back to its pre-pandemic normal. Beyond this weekend, McCrary says she hopes Super Bowl work leads to bigger and better jobs.
“I think there will be a lasting impact because people who taste our food will remember us,” McCrary, 40, said.
The Super Bowl can inject millions of dollars into a local economy, benefiting businesses other than those hired to help organize the event.
Analysis paid for by the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission predicts Sunday’s game will generate between $234 million and $477 million for the region’s economy. That includes up to $22 million in tax revenue and between 2,200 and 4,700 new jobs, according to the report by Micronomics, an economics research and consulting firm.
Many of the planned new jobs are expected to be in the event production and hospitality sectors – areas of the local economy that have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. More than half are expected to work in hotels, restaurants and transportation, among others, according to the analysis.
“Much of the recovery that has yet to happen is still in service and tourism-related industries,” said Shannon Sedgwick, director of research at the nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development. . “Having an event like the Super Bowl in the region and bringing people back, along with their visitor spending, will only have a positive economic benefit for the region.”
Los Angeles County, home to about 10 million people, lost nearly 773,000 jobs between March and April 2020, the first weeks of the pandemic. The region’s unemployment rate rose from 4.5% before the pandemic to 18.8% in May 2020.
Hiring resumed in the months that followed as pandemic lockdowns eased. As of December 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 6.2%.
“We’re getting closer to where we were, but we’re not there yet,” Sedgwick said.
The LA area has hosted the Super Bowl seven times, starting with Super Bowl I in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. Most games have taken place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, including the most recent, the Dallas Cowboys’ 52-17 rout of the Buffalo Bills in 1993’s Super Bowl XXVII. This week’s game between the Bengals of Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Rams takes place at SoFi Stadium, which opened in September 2020 in Inglewood.
Much of the LA area’s economy has changed in the decades since it last hosted the Super Bowl. The region has gradually shifted from a manufacturing-based economy to one focused on the provision of services, including those catering to tourism.
Service industries, including health care, retail, transportation and financial activities, make up 89% of LA County’s economy, Sedgwick said. Of this total, about 11% is made up of leisure and hospitality, the category that includes restaurants and bars.
Early in the pandemic, McCrary saw catering jobs on TV and movie sets all but disappear as productions closed. Catering jobs for weddings and other big events have also disappeared, as has the need for many companies to provide meals for their once packed offices.
“Once the pandemic started, (business) not only slowed down, it was non-existent,” McCrary said. “Every event cancelled.”
Over time, things started to slowly improve. She estimates that her business, in terms of revenue and jobs, is back to normal at around 40%.
It has about five employees now, about half of what it had before the pandemic. But she will have about 14 people working for her during her game day gig, providing all-day meals for the “talent” at an NFL party.
McCrary landed the Super Bowl job through an NFL program called Business Connect. It invites certified minority, female, veteran, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender-owned businesses to apply and potentially be hired to provide their services at the many events surrounding the game.
Some 225 businesses, including 26 in Inglewood, participated in this year’s program, which offers 18 months of professional development workshops aimed at preparing business owners to apply for Super Bowl jobs, including in catering, concierge services, lighting and security.
The program tries to limit the number of companies that participate so that a majority of them have a good chance of getting a contract, said BJ Waymer, an NFL consultant.
Allan DallaTorre’s production and event design company was one of the local businesses that participated in the program.
Before the pandemic, the 44-year-old company regularly held small movie premieres, fundraisers and other events. But much of that dried up after the pandemic and, until recently, has been slow to return.
Last week, he provided the lighting for a Business Connect networking gathering, and he’s waiting to hear about the possibility of hosting two Super Bowl parties.
“Just the networking I’ve had with other vendors, we’ve been able to network and refer each other,” DallaTorre said. “Every little gesture helps us.”
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