San Francisco Supervisors Demand New Super Bowl Deal

Super Bowl 50 is just a few weeks away and that’s a big deal for the NFL, but the celebration may wind up costing San Francisco taxpayers $5 million dollars and some city supervisors say that’s unacceptable.

Three San Francisco supervisors introduced emergency legislation on Tuesday to force the city to renegotiate its Super Bowl 50 deal with the NFL; they need a unanimous vote from the Board of Supervisors to proceed.

SF Supervisor Jane Kim, along with Aaron Peskin and John Avalos, say the city got a bad deal with the NFL.

The move comes two weeks before the massive football game hits the Bay Area and while the NFL has promised to reimburse Santa Clara $3.6 million for their costs, San Francisco gets nothing.

Two of the SF supervisors published an angry op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, demanding an instant replay of the city’s Super Bowl deal with the NFL and compensation for the $5 million in expected city costs.

“Let’s be clear: Santa Clara is hosting the Super Bowl, the world’s most lucrative marketing event. San Francisco is hosting the traffic jam. Why should San Francisco taxpayers fund the marketing efforts of the world’s largest corporations?”

Super Bowl 50 will be hosted in Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49er’s, but that stadium is actually located in Santa Clara, about 40 miles away.

The team was lured away in 2014 by the shiny new stadium that replaced Candlestick Park, but that hasn’t let San Francisco off the hook for Super Bowl expenses.

A budget analyst slammed San Francisco for failing to sign a deal with the NFL for full reimbursement of the city’s $5 million in expenses. Several city supervisors were outraged when the report came out including John Avalos who requested the information, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“It looks like the city gave (the NFL) a pass or failed miserably to negotiate the way Santa Clara was able to negotiate.”

As part of San Francisco’s bid to host Super Bowl 50, many city departments signed letters promising not to ask the NFL for reimbursement including the police department and emergency management. Only the Recreation, Park and Fire Department will be reimbursed to the tune of $104,257.

Jane Kim sent out a press release last week lamenting the city’s Super Bowl deal.

“Of course we welcome the Super Bowl. What we don’t welcome is being forced to hand over hard-earned taxpayer money for corporate marketing events. While $5 million may not sound like a lot to the multi-billion dollar companies hosting these events, it is a lot to working San Franciscans. It’s money that could be used to house the homeless, improve transit services, support our schools, or strengthen public safety.”

Some business leaders say Jane Kim’s resolution is more about getting her elected to the Senate than about protecting taxpayer money; they accuse the supervisor of political grandstanding and opportunism.

Opponents of the renegotiations argue San Francisco should be happy with the tax revenue generated from the massive sporting event, but city supervisors argue the NFL should reimburse the city for its costs.

Last year, Michael Leeds, the President of the North American Association of Sports Economics, told SFist the economic benefits of large sporting events are often overrated and usually prove false in the end.

Some ordinary workers, at least, will be left out of the Super Bowl windfall. The street artists that normally sell their goods on Market Street are being moved west and they say they’ll lose money because of it, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The city faces a $100 million budget gap for next year.

[AP Photo/Eric Risberg]