Above: Native Grill and Wings expects a Super Bowl crowd but its big spike in business is from take-out orders. [Brian Mordt]

Maricopa-area businesses that profit from National Football League games, particularly sports bars, have driven the length of the field and they’re at the goal line, ready to score.

The NFL is big business every Sunday of the football season for establishments like Ralph Skrzypczak’s The Roost Sports Bar & Café.

Skrzypczak said. He expects a standing-room-only crowd for the big game at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 12, played this year at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

At Native Grill and Wings, where Mike Wheeler is general manager, the heavy Super Bowl business is not in the bar but in a huge spike in take-out orders.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino senior vice president and general manager Michael Kintner (left); David Snock, vice president of western operations for sportsbook partner William Hill (far right), celebrate the first bet at Caesars Sportsbook at Harrah’s Ak-Chin with Caesars rewards members Joseph and Billie Butkiewicz of Ahwatukee. [submitted]
And the sportsbook at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino again anticipates a lively exchange of money wagered not only on the game but also on unusual proposition bets, which are side wagers made on an event not directly affecting the game’s outcome — like which team scores first.

“So, it’s kind of a weird one,” Skrzypczak said. “It is a big promotion day and a big publicity day. That, for us, is huge. And we want our customers to have a really good time, so we do some special things.”

But it’s not necessarily the financial bonanza one might expect.

“During the regular season, there are three TV time slots each Sunday. The two early slots have two games each – not that many people hang around for the late game,” Wheeler said. “So, we have people coming and going all day to watch games. The Super Bowl is just one game. The place is full, but it’s just one game.”

Super Bowl Sunday profits are about the same as any other NFL football Sunday, he said.

“It’s a big day, but truthfully it’s about 25% above an average non-football Sunday,” Wheeler said. “But it’s right up there with St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving Eve, New Year’s Eve and any Friday night for us.”

The Roost, 20800 N. John Wayne Pkwy., Suite 101, is spicing the fun with drawings for merchandise, including an 85-inch Samsung television. Skrzypczak added special pricing on pitchers and appetizers are in the works. He is considering repeating a crowd favorite of past years: shots half off for the next round when a team scores.

It costs $10 to reserve a table or a seat at the bar, inside or outside, at The Roost for Super Sunday, and they are sold out, Skrzypczak said. Standing-room customers will be admitted as people leave to stay under the building’s 200-person capacity.

At Native, Wheeler says if you want takeout, you’d better order early.

The Roost Sports Bar and Cafe is expected to be a standing-room only on Super Bowl Sunday. [Bryan Mordt]
“I’ve been here eight years now and it seems like to-go business is what carries Super Bowl Sundays,” Wheeler said. “Our to-go business jumps through the roof by about 30%. There’s that two hours right up to game time when we just get hammered. People are getting back to normal now after the pandemic, having parties, so we expect to see an increase this year.”

Native, 21164 N. John Wayne Pkwy., sees about a 30% increase in take-out business on Super Sunday. It eliminates one table and uses the space to stage to-go pickups.

“We might have like 70 orders to pick up at 3 o’clock, another 50 at 3:30, so we need an area,” Wheeler said.

Native won’t take reservations and there will be no admission charge. There also will not be specials on food or beverages.

“Just our normal Sunday discounts, which we do year-round,” Wheeler said.

For those planning to come to the bar to watch the game, Native has added TVs this year. It now has 33, including a four-plex of 65-inch screens over the bar and two 65-inch screens on the patio.

“The bar still has a decent day,” Wheeler said. “But we don’t really gain a lot of sales revenue over any other NFL Sunday. We only seat about 200. When people are hanging out to watch games, you’re not turning over tables and getting that money per table. That’s always the issue with football for us.”

Action also is expected to be brisk at Harrah’s Ak-Chin, 15406 N. Maricopa Road, after sports gambling was legalized last year under Arizona law. A spokesman said wagering figures are not available for the initial Super Bowl take in 2022 at Harrah’s Ak-Chin.

However, Caesars Entertainment, parent company of Harrah’s, confirmed betting on Super Bowl LVI was the most-bet-on volume-wise in legal U.S. sports betting history. This includes the most-bet-on Super Bowl in Nevada history with $179.8 million in total handle last year.

Gamblers also like offbeat betting. For example, last year marked the third straight year the most-bet-on player for First Touchdown Scored cashed for customers at Caesars Sportsbook. Those were Odell Beckham Jr. last year, Rob Gronkowski the year before and Patrick Mahomes three years ago.

“The game is just such a spectacle,” Skrzypczak said. “More than anything else, we just want people to have a good time.”