Despite Eagles’ league-leading surge, no touchdown for Philly economy

Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Mills (31) runs the ball in for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Philadelphia,.

Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Mills (31) runs the ball in for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Philadelphia,. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Philadelphia Eagles fans are flying high right now. At 7-1, the team has the best record in the NFL thanks to its best start in more than a decade.

What does this mean for the city’s economy? Experts say nothing.

“The average baseball team has roughly the impact of a midsize department store. Because the season is shorter — fewer games, lower overall attendance — football has an even smaller impact on the city,” said Temple University professor Michael Leeds, who chairs the school’s economics department.

The NFL’s regular season is 16 games long. Only half of those are played at home compared with baseball’s 81 home games.

What’s more, not much new revenue is generated during an NFL season. Most of the money is already on the books before a single down has been played.

“You’re going to sell the same number of tickets no matter what, roughly the same number of fans watching,” said Victor Matheson, an economy professor at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

“Even if fans don’t tune in during those bad seasons, it just means they spend money elsewhere in the local economy than at a sports bar.”

About the only part of the city’s economy that directly benefits from the Birds turning in a strong season are businesses with livelihoods tied to sports in some way – sports bars or jersey shops.

Rob Calabrese, who manages Philly Team Store in Center City, said sales are way up – at least 25 percent – over this time last year when the Eagles had a 4-3 record.

“You can just feel the difference, not even looking at a spreadsheet,” said Calabrese.

Diehard fans are coming in for the latest hats and jerseys, he said, but the uptick is more the result of new fans making their first purchases.

“This is kind of the second wave of people. I don’t want to say jumping on the bandwagon, but basically that’s what it is,” said Calabrese. “Every win, it’s kind of building momentum like a snowball.”

The Eagles will try for the team’s eighth win in nine games Sunday when they welcome the Denver Broncos to Lincoln Financial Field.

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