It has been 17 years and 119 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Before we delve into the world of finances used to host the Super Bowl remember that the city actually hosted 3 major events at the stadium in 2015: the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.

We’ll look at the murky finances of hosting the Fiesta Bowl. It is the only one of the three major events for which there is any mechanism of even partial financial reimbursement. When the University of Phoenix stadium opened on August 1, 2006 the city entered into an agreement not with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) but with the management company, Global Spectrum, which AZSTA hired to manage the stadium. The Fiesta Bowl Committee rents the stadium and contracts with Global Spectrum to manage the event. The agreement between Global Spectrum and the city requires police and fire service partial reimbursement. Global Spectrum reimburses the city for only these two services.

The two latest agreements between the parties are dated October 22, 2013 for fire services and April 10, 2014 for police services. In the 2013 agreement Global pays an hourly rate of $40.00 for fire services. In the 2014 agreement Global pays an hourly rate of $51.10 for police services with provision for an annual increase of 3%.

From the March 20, 2012 city council budget workshop minutes we learned the following, “Councilmember Lieberman asked if the city paid the salary of all the officers from other municipalities that come to help them in trafficking for events such as the Fiesta Bowl. Assistant Chief Greg Dominguez, explained the city does have an account that was budgeted for the staffing that was specific to the Fiesta Bowl. Therefore, the city does cover salaries for those events.”

In response to my Public Information Request I received the following information from the city for police costs for the Fiesta Bowl:

  • Police billable hours are 1,152.38 and billable wages are $53,671.63
  • Police non-billable hours are 1,287.89 and non-billable wages are $70,765.20
  • Total police hours are 2,440.27 and total wages are $126,436.83

Yet another city document I received entitled 2015 YTD (Year to date) Budget Control Report Details listed police expenses for the Fiesta Bowl of:

  • Temporary pay of $36,640.00
  • Overtime pay of $43,999.07
  • Emergency Service pay of $880.00
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $727.51
  • Professional and Contractual to Airwest Aviation Academy of $1,174.50
  • Line Supplies (Insight, Zoro tools, Best Buy and Motorola) of $3,926.97
  • Total of these line items is $87,347.06

With no further clarification from the city I have to assume that $87,347.06 is in addition to the total wages reported of $126,436.83. These two city generated reports total $213,783.89 for which the city received reimbursement for billable hours and wages of $53,671.63. These reports confirm that city paid at least $160,112.26 from its General Fund to host the Fiesta Bowl. I suspect that this figure is low because in the city’s FY 2015-16 budget $245,975 is the figure used.

Fire costs for the Fiesta Bowl are:

  • Hours of 425.25 and wages of $26,953.18
  • There is no distinction between billable and non billable hours and wages

In its 2015 YTD Budget Control Report Details fire expenses are listed as:

  • Overtime pay of $19,330.61
  • Emergency Service pay of $2,200.00
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $296.24
  • Line supplies (Insight, Lowes, Salsa Blanca, Shane’s Rib Shack, Home Depot, AGP Propane, Segway of Scottsdale, RV Storage, Roadrunner Oxygen, Cabela’s, Office Depot) of $6,999.14
  • Total of these line items is $28,826.99

The two city generated reports total $55,780.17. This tracks with the FY 2015-26 budget of $58,816.00 for fire. Note that fire does not make any budgetary distinction between billable and non-billable hours and wages. Since it tracks so closely to the budgeted amount it may be safe to assume that this cost reflects non-billable hours and wages.

In yet another city generated 2015 YTD Budget Control Report for Transportation we see:

  • Overtime pay of $74.88
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $191.25
  • Professional & Contractual for shuttle services of $26,049.40
  • Line supplies (Culver’s) of $60.74
  • Total of these line items is $26,376.27

After reimbursement for some public safety costs the best estimate of total non-reimbursable costs for the Fiesta Bowl paid by the city’s General Fund is $301,783.99. But this figure is only attributable to police, fire and shuttle services.   Remember there are other costs not tracked by the city. Items not tracked are salaries, straight time and overtime in transportation, sanitation, marketing, building safety plus the use of city equipment. How much did they use in time, equipment and material? We don’t know and guess what; neither does the city because it doesn’t track any of these additional costs. That makes my assumption as to Fiesta Bowl costs as reasonable as theirs.

The figure to host the Fiesta Bowl is $300,000 on the low end and about $500,000 on the high end. It is reasonable to assume that it is closer to $500,000 when the hidden, untracked, unreimbursed expenses are identified.

Why doesn’t the city track all costs for these major events? Pick your reason. It could be laziness or sheer incompetence. Conspiracy theorists will say that the city doesn’t want its citizens to know. They believe, and they may be right, that Glendale residents would be outraged to learn exactly how much the city’s role as a sports mecca costs. Residents may realize that sports hosting costs remove available revenue to upgrade or to construct amenities that enhance a city’s quality of life…and that is a bigger deal than a football game.

Next up the cost of the Super Bowl (and Pro Bowl).

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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