As the cities of Santa Clara (+ San Francisco) and Miami get closer to the NFL’s May awarding of Super Bowl L to an official host city and stadium, one city is struggling to get its ducks in a row whereas the other is taking care of its final bid details. Miami’s bid is flailing as funding for a major upgrade to Dolphins Stadium remains in limbo. Meanwhile, Santa Clara’s City Council is prepared to approve a series of concessions to the NFL that should sew up the game for the South Bay, while creating a risk that Santa Clara will run in the red in the process.
To help pay off the 49ers stadium, the Stadium Authority has several revenue streams tied to taxes and fees employed for every Niner home game and other events. The NFL requested that such fees be waived for the Super Bowl, and apparently the City is more than happy to comply. Fees being waived include the following:
- 10% NFL Ticket Surcharge – At a conservative set price of $500 per SB L ticket, the $50 surcharge would yield $3.75 million with an expanded capacity of 75,000.
- $0.35 Ticket fee – Meant to fund some senior and youth programs. A cap of $250,000 per year is imposed on this revenue source. If the 49ers play at least one home game, it’s likely that the 49ers would hit the cap, rendering additional collection of this fee moot.
- Hotel tax – A Mello Roos district was created to provide some stadium funding, backed by a hike in the transit occupancy tax from 9.5% to 11.5% in the stadium’s immediate area. The NFL asked for its share (350 rooms for an unspecified number of days) to be waived. Assuming that the NFL needs 350 rooms for the full two weeks, the City would forego some $70,000+ in hotel taxes. The City notes that it expects to make up this loss via taxes collected on additional room bookings.
- Off Site Parking fee – The City has imposed a $4.54 fee per space for event parking. That too will be waived. This appears to be for all Super Bowl activities, not just the game itself. The City notes that the fee is meant to offset the cost of traffic management.
The non profit San Francisco Super Bowl Committee is supposed to reimburse the City for the cost of services rendered by the City (and other jurisdictions). The committee is not going to backfill the City’s lost revenues. Strangely, no estimates of this impact were disclosed, even as the City touts $300 million in additional economic activity for the region. Much of that major economic impact will be felt in San Francisco, where the majority of non-game events will be held. The key will be the layout of the Super Bowl hub surrounding the stadium. If attractions such as the NFL Experience are staged at Moscone Center instead of the Santa Clara Convention Center, real economic impact for Santa Clara will be limited outside of Super Bowl Sunday.
A year ago I wrote about what it would take to host a Super Bowl in the Bay Area, and despite Santa Clara “taking one for the team”, there is a burgeoning sense of excitement about the possibility of hosting the big game. It’s just too bad that the City Council, knowing it had at least a little leverage with the knowledge that Miami is struggling so much, hasn’t considered driving a harder bargain with the NFL. Maybe next time – if there is a next time.