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Houston Matters for Friday, May 24, 2013

The city of Houston learned this week it will host Super Bowl LI (51) in January 2017, the first time in 13 years. In the lead-up to the announcement, there was a lot of talk about why it’s a good idea for the NFL to hold the Super Bowl here. There’s no doubt about the […]

The city of Houston learned this week it will host Super Bowl LI (51) in January 2017, the first time in 13 years. In the lead-up to the announcement, there was a lot of talk about why it’s a good idea for the NFL to hold the Super Bowl here. There’s no doubt about the intangibles: it’s exciting for Houston to be in the national spotlight. But just what are the benefits and challenges of hosting such an event, and what’s the true economic impact? What’s not in dispute: Super Bowl week will bring tens of thousands of people to Houston. They’ll stay at our hotels, eat at our restaurants, frequent our stores. But according to a report co-authored by one of today’s guests, economist Victor Matheson, Super Bowls don’t necessarily bring in the revenue the NFL would have you think.

We discuss the benefits and challenges inherent in hosting a Super Bowl, and we consider what it may truly mean for Houston. Also joining the discussion are Ric Campo, Chairman of Houston’s Super Bowl bid committee and Greg Ortale from the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (also a member of the committee).

Then, we also examine employment and education opportunities for younger veterans. Houston is home to the 2nd largest veteran population among American cities, and the largest population of post-9/11 vets. Many of those veterans are under the age of 24, and they’re struggling to find jobs. Their unemployment rate stands at 18%.

And, this weekend marks the 35th anniversary of the TV series Battlestar Galactica, and the 10th anniversary of the Battlestar Galactica Sci Fi Channel reboot series. Fans of the Galactica universe are descending on Houston this weekend to celebrate during GalactiCon III, a conference which is co-locating this year with Comicpalooza, the “Texas International Comic Convention.” We’ll talk with attendees, exhibitors, organizers, and special celebrity guests about both conventions, and about how comic book and sci fi cultures, once denigrated as “kids stuff,” have become intrinsically valuable sources for our popular culture here in Houston, and across the nation.

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