Eleven days remain until kickoff at Super Bowl LIII and many fans of the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams are scurrying for last-minute bookings for the big game. While most popular hotels are sold out, AirBNB hosts are looking to cash in on Super Bowl fever.
According to a report by AirnbnbWatch, an affordable housing advocate and consumer watchdog group, room, apartment, and housing rentals for Super Bowl week in Atlanta have increased as much as 2,600% compared to a regular weekend.
The report also reveals rates for many Airbnb listings, increasing by thousands of dollars per night during Super Bowl LIII. These findings are similar to those released late last year surrounding the VRBO Citrus Bowl. An Airbnb rental in Atlanta, which is normally rented for $284 per night, was being advertised for $2,994 per night during Super Bowl LIII. A typical three-night stay at that apartment would normally cost a total of $1,071, but the same length of stay during Super Bowl LIII would cost more than $10,000.
“Airbnb’s price gouging squeezed football fans during this year’s College Bowl Season, and now again for the Super Bowl. But more egregiously, these hosts are squeezing affordable housing stock out of their communities,” says Lauren Windsor, AirbnbWATCH’s spokesperson.
By comparison, AirBNB’s analysis says 60% of its 7,000 guests booked after the two teams were set for last year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. The report concluded the average nightly room price booked the week of the event was $286, which was about 3.7 times the usual Airbnb listing for the area.
“Basically the city’s sold out,” said William Pate, head of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In 2016 the NFL bought 20,100 of metro Atlanta’s 100,000 hotel rooms for workers and sponsors of the 2019 Super Bowl. Some are near the airport, where officials said about 90 percent of the 8,000 rooms are booked, many for at least $300 a night. Clayton County’s tourism department says it is 85 percent full.
By many indications, the demand for lodging during Super Bowl week proves Atlanta’s reputation as a town that can host major events.
“It’s pretty clear that our hosts don’t engage in gouging,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs. “When demand for Airbnb increases, supply also tends to increase. When you look at big events, like for a Super Bowl weekend, there’s maybe a $20 increase.”
However, commercial landowners seeking to profit from the Super Bowl may have a market to do so in Atlanta.
“The documented facts in this report speak for themselves in exposing Airbnb’s hypocrisy,” stated Windsor. “Commercial Airbnb hosts will be busting the budgets of football fans with high lodging prices, and testing the goodwill of their neighbors by bringing thousands of complete strangers into residential communities of Atlanta.”