Winning Ticket: Valentine’s Day and ‘Big Game’


And they say true romance is on a hiatus or perhaps faces the same headwinds as the economy. Both romance and the economy are fragile. Buckle up. Even with dark skies and turbulence, they shall prevail.

The all-knowing National Retail Federation (NRF), a trade association promoting the importance of retail, recently predicted consumers will spend almost $26 billion (with a “b”) on Valentine’s Day this year. In 2022, romantics-consumers shelled out almost $24 billion. The $2 billion increase is akin to local innkeepers and steakhouses holding the winning lottery ticket. For them, true loves may celebrate on, say, Friday through Sunday rather than on Tuesday, February 14th, a work day for many. Their cash registers will likely ring a little louder for a few days in what otherwise could be a quiet, mid-winter weekend.

Maybe the same innkeepers and steakhouses upgraded their lottery ticket with the Power Play option at the point of purchase? This means cash prizes double on matched numbers other than the grand prize. If they can’t win the entire lottery, there’s a double-down option to win something extra. Innkeepers and steakhouses are savvy players. They’ll be ready.

Those savvy players looked at February’s calendar a long time ago. They choose the Power Play option. Super Bowl LVII, a/k/a the Big Game, will be contested on Sunday, February 12th. So it’s a Big Game – Romantics celebration over the course of a couple days. Cash registers will really ring.

The NRF also forecasts spending on the Big Game. An estimated $16.5 billion will be shelled out this year and includes purchases on things like hosting a party, attending one, watching at a bar, stocking up at liquor stores, team apparel, and even new TVs.

Why is $42.5 billion in spending for two events important? Consumer spending, even when consumers are disguised as romantics and sports fans, accounts for about 70% of the U.S. economy. Every 90 days, consumer spending in the U.S. totals as much as $14 trillion (with a “t”). That’s a lot of appetizers, football shaped desserts, office pools, greeting cards, flowers, dinners, get-aways, and even treats for special four-legged friends.

Romantics and sports fans may wish to know if they’re above the spending norm or below it. The NRF says as much as $190 per person may be spent on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. Likewise, a little over $85 per adult will be spent on the Big Game. Cupid doesn’t dish out IOUs and neither do unsympathetic employers who expect high productivity versus sick days immediately following the Super Bowl.

In Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley, innkeepers and steakhouses offer plenty of options for either day or both. Dine-in or take-out. Add a selection from a local winery, distillery or brewery. Local, family-owned butcher shops are not marriage counselors, but they can offer tips on premium cuts and how to prepare them. Regardless of the locale, Cupid will be there. So will Packer and Viking fans, even when they are part of the same family. If an innkeeper can win the lottery based on sales volume, then true romantics and sports fans can do the same in their enjoyment of special occasions. Above the norm or below, here’s to mid-February’s special spending days in the St. Croix Valley.