A quick note before taking a look at the NFL bid requirements for a Super Bowl. Yesterday I wrote about Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ inability to purchase tickets for the Super Bowl taking place a mere 5 days from now in Glendale. Today the Arizona Republic has an editorial very much in agreement. They refer to the NFL’s actions, or better yet, inaction, as “petty.” On this assessment I disagree. The pettiness is owned by the Bidwills. If they wanted Mayor Weiers to have Super Bowl tickets, the deed would already have been done.

On to the Super Bowl bid process. There are two links that provide the NFL requirements for hosting a Super Bowl. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the entire 153 page document has a limk. Here it is:  http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/262253921.html . Glendale, years ago, posted only that portion of the bid document (43 pages) relevant to a host city. Here is the link: https://www.glendaleaz.com/clerk/Contracts/8806.pdf . I am not going to go into excruciating detail about the requirements. You have the links to read the entire bid for yourselves.

It is interesting to note that there are several phrases very, very liberally sprinkled throughout the bid specifications. The first is “at no cost to the NFL.” The second is “made available to the NFL rent-free.” The third is “provided by the Host Committee at no cost to the NFL.” The fourth is “discounted to the NFL.” The last is “the NFL must have exclusive rights at no cost to the NFL.”

Host cities go to great lengths to get noticed by the team owners in the hope that they will win the bid. In 2011 Arizona presented each team owner with an IPad, customized with each team’s logo and already loaded with a video presentation touting the Arizona bid. In 2012, Indianapolis had children deliver its bid to each of the team owners. Florida promised the owners yachts; Tampa offered all of the owners a golf outing with Arnold Palmer; and Texas just outright offered a million dollars to cover the Super Bowl game day costs. Here is a sampling of the ‘must haves’ included in the bid:

  • Provide 35,000 free parking spaces
  • Free billboards across the Valley
  • Receipt of all revenues for the game’s ticket sales
  • Installation of NFL preferred ATM’s at the stadium
  • Presidential suites, at no cost, in high-end hotels
  • Free access to three high-end golf courses in the summer or fall before the game
  • Free curbside parking at the NFL house
  • Free access to two top quality bowling venues

And the list goes on:

  • Temporary stadium seating must be 19” wide
  • Seating for the hoards of media must be 20” wide with an accompanying 24” clear, workspace
  • Grass field must be re-sodded for the game; and the NFL can remove chunks of it after the game, for resale, if it wishes
  • The stadium must be available to the NFL 4 weeks prior to Game Day and 4 days after; exclusive use for the NFL is 2 weeks prior
  • NFL has complete and exclusive control for 2 weeks prior to game of all club, restaurant, meeting, and hospitality facilities at the stadium
  • The host city must guarantee that its police, fire, permits, etc. are the top priorities
  • NFL has exclusive right to sell game day programs and novelties at the stadium
  • NFL will receive the stadium’s percentage from the sales of food, beverages and catering
  • Only NFL sponsor’s products will have logos seen on all products; all other logos are to be covered or removed
  • NFL allotted suites get a 30% discount on food and beverages
  • NFL requires 300 top quality buses; 65 limos (no older than 5 years); 5 premier quality buses and 125 “school” buses
  • Hotels where the teams stay obligated to televise the NFL Network for a year before the Super Bowl

There’s far more but this alone is enough to make one’s head spin. What does the NFL expect its game day costs to be? About $2.5 million dollars but let’s be generous and double that to $5 million dollars. For a several million dollar investment it earns billions. Yet it will not reimburse host cities for their costs. How greedy can it get? Oh, and the Host Committee must stipulate which of the NFL game day costs of $2.5 million dollars it will cover.

Did you know the Arizona Host Committee, just like the NFL, is a 501 (c) 6 non-profit organization? Its contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions but they can be deducted as a trade or business expense if ordinary and necessary in the conduct of business. Don’t you think every one of the businesses that contributed to the Arizona Host Committee had their CPAs and attorneys justify their contributions as deductions to the IRS? You bet they have.

Did you know that the Bidwills bought Tom’s Tavern in downtown Phoenix? It’s being operated by Rojo Hospitality, a division of the food company the Bidwills created to serve the University of Phoenix stadium. No wonder Michael Bidwill is so ecstatic to see NFL major events occurring in downtown Phoenix rather than in Glendale.

Why is Michael Bidwill feuding with the City of Glendale? He wants the City of Glendale to build a parking garage in the Westgate area at a cost of $25 to $35 million dollars. Why the need? Every inch of land surrounding the footprint of the stadium has been approved for development as the Bidwill’s Sportsman’s Park East and Sportsman’s Park West. These approved plans call for hotels, apartments, offices and retail — some 200’ feet tall, twice the height of the stadium (to date unapproved by the FAA). Of course those plans call for parking but it is parking dedicated to the structures to be built while removing all of the football parking space surrounding the stadium. That football dedicated parking has to be replaced and what better dime to use than the city’s.

If all of this doesn’t make you angry, nothing will. Perhaps someday the general public (read taxpayers) will realize in reality, they pay for the Super Bowl, and not just with tickets to the game or the merchandise they buy. I still call for all of the potential host cities to form their own league (or consortium), present a united front to the NFL and say “enough already.”

©Joyce Clark, 2015


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