According to one study, this weekend's Super Bowl will pump some $153 million into South Florida's economy, 3% more than last year's game brought to Tampa. There will be about 120,000 people invading the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area and the average fan will spend four nights in a hotel and drop about $1,700 on the room, food and entertainment. The exact amount of local economic impact is debatable—depending on whom you ask that $153 million figure is either real, too small, or artificially inflated.
Speaking of size and things artificially inflated—one set of figures are often overlooked when assessing which industries will benefit most from the sausage fest that is the Super Bowl: strippers. And the windfall they and their employers get from game day crowds.
"They're not coming to see the ballet, especially when they can get away from their girlfriends or wives for a while—strip clubs are the first things on everybody's minds," says Alan Markovitz, former owner of a slew of peeler destinations including the Booby Trap in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and the Penthouse Club in Detroit, Michigan, which saw a spike in business during the Super Bowl in 2006. Markovitz is also the author of business memoir, Topless Prophet (Greenleaf), "the true story of America's Most Successful Gentleman's Club Entrepreneur."
A club owner can double his income during the Super Bowl, he and other owners say. To capitalize on the surge, they might hire featured dancers—known names like Stormy Daniels or Savanna Samson—and dispatch them to local morning radio shows or put staffers on shuttle buses to transport tourists straight from the airport to luxurious lapdance joints. Plus, out of town dancers often follow the money and show up seeking temporary work. "A good looking girl can walk into any topless bar and say, 'Hey, I want to work the Super Bowl,' and she'll get hired," Markovitz says. Most girls pay to "rent" stage time from the clubs. Clubs that might have 80-90 girls paying into that system might get 200 girls renting the same space during an event like the Super Bowl, Markovitz says.
Moral qualms aside, that's one hell of a stimulus.
"We believe it will have a measurable effect on our Q2 results," says Allan Priaulx, spokesman for the publicly traded Rick's Cabaret, which owns and operates Tootsie's Cabaret in Miami. In addition to hosting a horde of pro ballers and their fans, the city is one of the six biggest strip club markets in the country, which means it has more clothes-tossing establishments even than Tampa's 43 clubs. While the owners are the ones that are going to see the greatest jolts to their bottom lines (the puns write themselves), the staff—or, talent if you prefer—will also do rather well this weekend.
"Tips always go up after big games, especially if the hometown team wins or the guys win a big bet," says Priaulx, who witnessed the phenomenon at New York City clubs after Madison Square Garden events and in Houston after the NBA All-star game a couple of years ago. "Tips of $1,000-2,000 after big events are not uncommon."
Markovitz adds: "I would say that a girl who would normally make $800, $900 a night could possibly double or triple that—especially if she spots a whale [the nickname for a high-roller] and gets him in the champagne room. I call them my 3,000 Mastercharge limit guys. They have their balance down to nothing and they'll max out their card to be a hero for the weekend."