DALLAS - The weather has hit the Super Bowl like an economic hurricane.
Rosy predictions of hundreds of millions of dollars benefiting the North Texas economy were always in question. But, now with the weather, they may never come close.
Stacks of shot glasses, piles of hats and all sort of other merchandise are all awaiting customers at fourteen Super Bowl XLV souvenir shops in Dallas and Fort Worth. Those working at the shops have been trying to look for an upside.
I don't want to use the word scary, said Brandon Luther, a merchant. People are going to go to the Super Bowl. They already have their tickets.
And, many ticketholders haven't changed their plans.
We're used to it, said Kathy Carney, a football fan from Annapolis, Maryland. It snows in Maryland.
It's been good at the high-end spots like Hotel Zsa Zsa, where Super Bowl rooms must be booked for more than the weekend. The hotel and the Dallas tax base will benefit from that.
We have a four-night minimum stay, said Lauren Manford, with Hotel Zsa Zsa. So, everyone came in on Thursday.
Events like the NFL Beach Party, with its rock stage and hospitality zone, took a lot of money to build. However, the crowds weren't there with the icy conditions.
The Super Bowl economic impact study said at least 600,000 people would come to North Texas despite not having tickets to the game. The people would come just to hang around for days, boosting the direct Super Bowl income to $282 million. That would be a boom to small businesses.
Those are the people, those folks, who were having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and invested in it, said Jim Gray, an ESPN sportscaster. And now, quite possibly, some of that isn't going to pan out.
Lots of white table cloth restaurants like Nick & Sam's in Dallas say they have been full.
At the W Hotel, former Oakland Raider Darrell Johnson said he booked 16 rooms and wants more but can't get them.
I prepaid, he said. They got their money.
Still, even before the lights come on, it's obvious the predicted crowd will be smaller.
You can't get a flight or it's hard to get a flight; so a lot of people who can't get a tickets aren't going to come, said Mike Davis, an SMU economist.
With snow on the party, the appetizers are likely to get very cold.