First a disclaimer: On June 28, 2011 the city council passed Resolution 4502 in support of Glendale’s bid to host the Super Bowl in 2015. I was one of two councilmembers who did NOT support that bid. While I enjoy football and in fact, am in a Fantasy League I voted against hosting on principle. Until such time as Glendale is made whole financially for the expenses it incurs as a host city and knowing Glendale’s precarious financial position I cannot support the further financial strain.

Paul Giblin writing for the Arizona Republic had a story in the September 29, 2013 edition entitled NFL Looking to Other Valley Cities for Super Bowl Events. Here is the link: . Are you furious? If not, you should be. A little background is in order. In 2008 Glendale was the host city for the Super Bowl and lost over a million dollars for that “privilege.” Even though Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix made money on the event Glendale did not. Why? Glendale had made great strides in obtaining more hotel rooms, restaurants and other amenities but there still were not enough of those venues to earn the necessary sales tax revenue to reimburse the city for its expenses. In addition, most of the NFL sponsored events occurred throughout the Valley creating fewer opportunities for event attendees to visit Glendale. For example, the teams stayed in Scottsdale’s hotels, not Glendale’s. Even though the region or state benefited there was and is to this day, no mechanism to offset the host city’s losses. Glendale’s situation is becoming more and more unique. Take Texas for example. The state has a mechanism in place to reimburse the host city. Here’s a link: . For the 2011 Super Bowl hosted in Arlington, Texas, “A state trust fund that uses tax money to help communities play host to major sports events is distributing its largest grant yet for Super Bowl XLV: $31.2 million.” There is a similar mechanism in Florida. Our state legislature has refused to create such a mechanism and don’t expect them to do so in the near future.

To begin let’s take a look at the NFL. Did you know it is the only sports league to have a 501(c) 6 non-profit status? Well, they do and as a result the NFL pays no taxes. It is estimated the dues each of the 32 team owners pays annually to the league is $6 million dollars on which no taxes are paid as it is considered as a donation to a non-profit. Forbes publishes an annual list of the 52 richest sports franchises in the world. Each year the 32 NFL teams, all of them, are included in that list of 52 richest franchises. The estimated worth of just one team — Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys is $2.3 billion dollars.

The NFL revenue for the 2012 Super Bowl was $9.5 billion dollars (yes, that’s with a “b”). Estimated NFL revenues for the 2014 Super Bowl range from $11.5 to $14.7 billion dollars. If that sounds extreme consider the fact that in 2013 a 30 second TV ad cost $4 million dollars and that in 2014, a 30 second TV ad could cost as much as $10 million dollars. In 2009 Roger Goodell, the NFL president, was paid $9.9 million dollars in salary alone (does not include any perks or bonuses) and by 2019 his salary will be $20 million a year.

Super Bowl tickets are pricey. The nose bleed seats go for $700 and the lower bowl, really nice seats come in at $12,000. The cheapest Super Bowl package (tickets, air fare and hotel) for 2014 right now are priced at over $5,000 per upper level seat and $24,000 per lower bowl seat. Did you visit the Super Bowl Village (NFL Experience) when it was in Glendale in 2008? Admission was free but you probably bought some NFL merchandise. You couldn’t get out of there without having spent at least $100. Multiply that by attendance in Indianapolis in 2013 of 1.1 million people. Conservatively that’s another $110 million dollars. Then there are the TV rights to carry the Super Bowl. According to Forbes over the next 9 years three networks, Fox, NBC and CBS will pay $27 billion dollars for TV rights. Here’s the link: .

You have the picture. The NFL is the only sports league that is non-profit and pays no taxes, local, regionally, state or federal. The NFL is a football monopoly and as a result, can dictate terms. Take them or leave them. The NFL doesn’t care because there’s always another sucker, er…bidder. The 32 team owners that comprise the NFL have the richest franchises in the world. Super Bowl 2014 will earn these men somewhere in the range of $11 to $14B. Next up, in Part 2, we’ll look at host cities, host committees and Glendale’s role in the 2015 Super Bowl.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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