The Economics Of The Super Bowl Are Not What It Seems

Voodoo economics?  

Three years ago, Channel 13 news in Houston raised a question about the 2017 Super Bowl in the city. How much public funding was going into the week-long NFL party? The answer according to Channel 13 news? About $26 million from Harris County and Texas taxpayers.  Atlanta spent $46 million with public and private money on the 2019 game festivities. In 2012, Indianapolis lost money hosting the game. Five years ago, the mayor of Glendale, Arizona Jerry Weiers said Glendale would lose money on the event. Weiers told an interviewer from ESPN The Magazine that I totally believe we will lose money on this. Weiers claimed Glendale lost $1 million on the 2008 game although Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill countered that the city got $13 million of free advertising. The problem with the claim. There was no $13 million check that was sent to the Arizona city. Glendale’s numbers backed up Weiers who was not the city’s mayor in 2008. Glendale spent a bit more than $3 million in city services on the game and got back just slightly more than one million dollars in taxes from various spending at places including hotels, motels, restaurants and car rental agencies. 

Some Super Bowl goers do spend money at hotels and motels and car rental agencies but if those places are not locally owned, Super Bowl rate hikes at those places don’t stay in the host city rather the money goes back to a home office elsewhere. Same with restaurants. Sure, some people, taxi drivers, people who clean hotel/motel rooms, parking lot attendants, waiters and waitresses might get more tip money but a good chunk of Super Bowl spending doesn’t go to non-hospitality businesses. The NFL doesn’t care about a host city losing money on the Big Game as long as the NFL makes money which it always does.

FILE – In this Nov. 29, 1981 file photo, San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh is hugged by 49ers back Walt Easley, left, and 49ers back Ronnie Lott after beating the New York Giants 17-10 to clinch the division title at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. What doach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, defensive end Nick Bosa and the rest of the San Francisco 49ers are doing this year harkens back to 1981 when Bill Walsh, Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott led the franchise to its first Super Bowl title. (AP Photo/Carl Viti)