Fans looking at a display of Super Bowl trophies.

A recent report by San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst revealed that the NFL will reimburse Santa Clara for Super Bowl-related expenses — but not San Francisco, leaving taxpayers with a bill of nearly $5 million. Calling it the “worst deal ever,” Supervisor Jane Kim is introducing emergency legislation to force the city to re-negotiate with the NFL. We discuss the deal and what cities stand to gain and lose by hosting major sporting events.

Jane Kim, Supervisor for District 6, City and County of San Francisco
Andrew Zimbalist, economics professor, Smith College, his latest book is "Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup"
C.W. Nevius, Metro Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle
Mark Farrell, Supervisor for District 2, City and County of San Francisco

  • Drago

    Why do Americans obsess over this sport, which is clearly a homoerotic war ritual?

    • De Blo

      Yes, that is one reason it is so fun to watch.

      • kpwn

        but the HWR doesn’t have to be high cost NFL HWR, right?

    • sfinsf

      And one that has been proved to cause SERIOUS, and LETHAL brain injury…which the NFL went to great pains to deny and over up for years and years. Have you seen the 2-part “Frontline” documentary detailing this nightmare? And yet, no one has gone to jail, and the game goes on…more popular than ever because of the vast new amount of GAMBLING attached to it. (A nightmare for women and children…because surprise! folks — the money has to come from somewhere…)

  • Bill_Woods

    From the linked document:

    As part of the Bid, the Fire, Police, and Emergency Management Departments signed letters of assurance to not seek reimbursement from the NFL for providing additional public safety services in support of public events related to the Super Bowl.

    Why complain now:

    Like [Sup. John] Avalos, Jane Kim was also on the board in 2012 when it voted to get the NFL to bring the Super Bowl to the Bay area. There had been 46 Super Bowls to that point. The event hasn’t transformed radically in the years since the board of supervisors approved a deal that included trying to get San Francisco to host a Super Bowl.

    • redroverover

      Maybe they didn’t expect that Sup. Mark Farrell, who sponsored that resolution and was on the bid committee putting together the details, would be so remiss in selling out the city.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    San Francisco signed a deal and should be held to the deal they made. One assumes San Francisco READ the agreement before signing. Hope the NFL shuts the door in their face!!!

    • Ralph

      The big print giveth
      The small print taketh away

  • sstanley

    WHAT????? The game is two weeks away! RELAX SF….You’ll get all the glory and we’ll get all the trash (Santa Clara)!

  • As Ms. Kim calls the NFL experience a “marketing event,” her complaining over the issue is itself a marketing event.

    Raising legislation that she doesn’t care if it passes or not is itself a waste of time and money. A fairly gross one, IMHO.

    • redroverover

      Her “complaining” is doing her job to represent us citizens’ interests. What backwards world do you live in to call that marketing?

  • Brad

    It would be complete insanity to not expect the NFL to pay for their own vanity fest.

  • Shirley LeGitte

    Is the Superbowl being held in San Francisco?

    No? Then why should San Francisco be reimbursed, for anything?

    They’re the Santa Clara 49’ers, now…

  • Trace Wendell

    Are there any studies concerning the environmental impact of this huge event? Are there any sustainability requirements? For example, 100% compostable packaging for all food items, adjusted MUNI routes. Did Sf City residents have any oversight or input into the planning and execution of this event? Are corporate sports events what San Francisco supports or wishes to be know for? As for me, I plan on getting the heck outta dodge for this whole time.

  • Robert Thomas

    Broadcast television is constantly looking for new reality programming that pits competing entities against one another.

    San Francisco could instantly lead the nation as a contestant in

    America’s Got Whine!

    I believe Ryan Seacrest will soon be looking for a job.

  • Ben Rawner

    My question is how much did it costs to put that Giant advertisement on the building on Embarcadero?

    My take is that Jan-Feb is a slow tourist season for the city, so this 5 mil is an investment for the benefit of tourist businesses.

    Maybe the businesses in Jane Kim’s district should rethink their support for her. Her district covers all the tourist areas and she is AGAINST this city investment.

  • Kurt thialfad

    Give me a sense of deja vu here. Looking back all the complaints about how much the City was losing by hosting the America;s Cup. When the books were closed, how much did the City gain/lose by hosting the Americas Cup?

  • Does Jane Kim realize that there’s more to spend tax dollars on than homeless and low-income families?

  • Liz

    First, I do think SF should have raised these issues a long time ago. Its a bit late to be having second thoughts and realizing money will need to be shelled out. Second, I do think these big events are overrated in terms of their overall benefit to the area. I guarantee most of the money earned is not trickling directly down to the community. The bulk of that money is going into corporate coffers.

    • nikki2sox

      Well, my husband’s catering company is getting the biggest gig they ever had and have brought in other local caterers and restaurants. So some local businesses are getting a once in a career opportunity.

      • De Blo

        Yes, it is helping all San Franciscans so much. Plus all of the parties and events are free.

        • redroverover

          Really? Did you know the NFL team owners are going to be at our City Hall on February 4th to have a dinner event?

          You should go meet some of those millionaires and billionaires… except you have to get past the Sheriffs who are there to keep riff raff like us out, while we literally pay for their overtime to do so.

          Find more fun details like this in the Budget Analyst report that almost didn’t get written if these Supervisors didn’t call out the Host Committee and the NFL.

      • kpwn

        if there were no NFL, it would be something else, or multiple smaller something elses. if customers want to spend, they spend.

  • The lack of transparency about the City’s commitments to the Super Bowl is shocking. The Budget Analyst says there is no written agreement except the original bid, and nobody can produce a copy of the bid that allegedly promised not to seek reimbursement!
    – Jeremy

  • cindy sweet

    I could not care less about football yet I do care about the fact that I won’t be going into San Francisco for the next two weeks due to the hassle factor of street closures, more traffic, and crowds. I don’t care about the Superbowl!!!

    • De Blo

      Perfect time to head downtown when you do not have to worry about cars and traffic. Much better for pedestrians.

  • Chuck

    It is clear the City politicians goofed and taxpayers take a $5 million hit.

  • therabble

    Jane Kim should include in her proposal a requirement that the City depts collect as much data as possible about the econ impact. Account for everything she’s mentioning, and ask Zimbalist what other econ data he’d want that isn’t already tracked. In this era of big data, let’s get a baseline on what the comprehensive MARGINAL cost is to SF of hosting this ‘non-profit’ party. Compare with future corporate and city events.

    Reality is that if the non-profit host committee didn’t raise the money to host the SF parties, the NFL would have contributed (they don’t want it to be a PR flop). These host cttees are a kind-of ‘front’ for a large corporate entity. Kim is right that if you make Oracle and pay, NFL should pay as well.

  • Robert Thomas

    “Corporate billboards”?!

    Corporations advertise? Using billboards? Shocking.

  • John Trasvina

    I’m glad Supervisor Jane Kim is looking after the citywide interest to get these expenses paid for by the NFL. What information was kept from the Board of Supervisors may not be clear but it’s important that the city seek ways to get the NFL to pay their fair share for being here.

    • justsaying

      how many other shady deals like this are not being properly exposed to our supervisors and citizens of San Francisco…..?

  • Mike Williams

    will you guys please stop giving these bozo SF supervisors a platform? They signed up to deal which will bring people to the City 40 miles from where the event is hosted. That was the City’s choice. The problem is that KQED actually thinks these guys are news worthy…if there wasn’t a place for them to speak publicly other than at meetings, then a lot of this grandstanding would disappear.

  • Max Tom

    Public funds should not be used to subsidize private profits. That includes the Super Bowl.

  • TK_PhD

    How much money would Super Bowl patrons have to spend in San Francisco to offset $5 million dollars in tax money? Let me start by saying that I have no idea what the local tax rate is, but if we assume the city recoups about 2% of every dollar spent, patrons would have to spend $250 million. If every person attending the Super Bowl, which seats 68,500 people, were to come to San Francisco and spend money, they would have to spend $3,650 each. Now there may be an economic boost, but if that boost doesn’t even recoup the tax money paid in, then it only makes sense for businesses, not for the average tax payers.

    • sfinsf

      2%? HAH! Our tax rate is 8 3/4, my friend…and THEN, there is the extra tax at restaurants, and the additional super hefty tax at hotels…not to mention that a parking meter is 25 cents for 7.5 minutes in the CHEAP parts of town…much higher in others…people talk about the high cost of rents here? Oh, that is just the start…I’m a native and we’re nickled and dimed to death (er, make that $2.50 and $5’d to death) all day long and throughout the nighttime while we sleep…

      • TK_PhD

        I am talking about money recouped by SF to justify the $5M layout. 7.5% of the 8.75% tax rate you mention is the California tax rate, not the local municipal tax rate. The Super Bowl money is coming from SF not the state general fund. So only 1.25% tax is recouped by SF. I estimated another 0.75% to account for other types of transactions, could be a little higher or lower, but it still takes a lot of “nickel and diming” to offset a $5M expenditure. My point isn’t that you’re not being taxed, it’s that the out of town “Super Bowl money” generated by tax revenue will have a hard time recouping the $5M expenditure in my estimation – which makes it a bad investment of the tax money YOU pay.

  • justsaying

    Jane Kim is taking the “LEADERSHIP” to look into this “shady deal” and somehow passed without concern for the taxpayers and residents of San Francisco.

    Today- Corporate Welfare is being subsidized – she’s not folding in —not under the influence- look what happen with the hype of America’s Cup! These are billionaire access events.

    Another Billionaire organization – the hype is duping us..i’m not making any revenue or benefit from SuperBowl…merchandise, game, tickets, hotel stay, etc.

    BTW; apparently NFL is a not for profit organization – they don’t pay taxes.

    I don’t have any issues with sports – but when they reach out to our cities to pay for their event that are charging a high ticket price – then we need to really consider who’s making these decision and their benefit…

    • sfinsf

      Don’t forget that, in addition to not paying taxes despite their VAST wealth, the NFL is probably the ONLY employer that has been proven to have knowingly, wantonly covered up scientific and medical PROOF that football has caused serious head trauma and brain damage to a fair number of players — injuries that have ended up KILLING them. This has been proved (there is a two-part “Fronline” documentary detailing it — and “Frontline” (PBS) is a very seriously, highly researched program with a stellar reputation). How/why do Americans support a company that doesn’t care if it KILLS their own employees? How do we continue to allow them to do this — and laugh and cheer as we watch it happen, week after week, year after year … and also send our own kids running onfield to play? There are many things wrong with our US of A …and football certainly points to a lot of what it is.

  • De Blo

    So excited to be hosting the Super Bowl. Looking forward to all of the free concerts and events in Super Bowl City. Great event for all San Franciscans. Huge boon for all of us. Time to list the guest room on Airbnb if you have not already done so.

    • kpwn

      (they won’t really be free. they’ll be covered indirectly.)

  • De Blo

    Thank you Mark Farrell. You are our best supervisor. All you whiners who hate San Francisco and hate the Super Bowl, please move to Reno.

    • redroverover

      Yay for Sup. Farrell! He’s in bed with the NFL so we don’t have to be! Oh wait, why are they still screwing us though? =(

    • sfinsf

      Bet $100 that you aren’t even a native of MY city…

  • Norman

    This Supervisor Mark Farrell’s tone. Annoying as hell. How can anyone vote for him?

  • sfinsf

    NEWSFLASH: At least half of SF’s Board of Stupidvisors could not get a job anywhere else. They are, effectively, unemployable. I know that you would think that the people elected to run a major city like ours would be pretty smart — alas, this is NOT the case. Usually, they manage to get elected to PTA or some little local board or group…then move up a couple of little steps, then someone steps in and flatters them into running for supervisor. The name of the game is to find someone to run who has no other viable option but to be the lap dog of special interests. That also explains how we have the mayor we have, and how we so often end up with clowns representing us in the State Assembly and Senate.

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