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Catherine Rampell, economics writer for the New York Times, tried in yesterday's (January 26) issue to find the source of that ever-recurrent prediction that a Super Bowl brings $550 million to $600 million to the host city. Finally, she found someone at the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee to give some halting answer.

The figure came from a report several years ago, but "a decision was made" not to release the study, said the source, who then stopped returning Rampell's information requests. Rampell went on to quote economics professor Philip Porter at the University of South Florida (frequently interviewed in the Reader), who said the net effect of the Super Bowl was "zero."

Rampell concluded that the event is "a huge transfer of funds from taxpayers to a handful of special interests."

Meanwhile, Sacramento is in a bitter dispute about a huge subsidy for its professional basketball team's new stadium plans. The current team sells out every game, even though the team stinks.

Proponents say the project will create $11.5 billion in economic benefits in 35 years, but they concede that this is based on the creation of bars, hotels, and the like that don't exist today. Opponents say the predictions are ridiculous. For example, the city will invest $19 million a year in principal and interest payments and get $2.7 million a year in taxes.

Sons of Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm, are among investors in the Sacramento team.

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Comments

MURPHYJUNK Jan. 27, 2014 @ 8:57 a.m.

good to keep rubbing the tax payers noses in this, maybe they will learn eventually.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 9:12 a.m.

Murphyjunk: I have been writing that pro sports subsidies for billionaire team owners are scams since 1996. Economists have been pointing this out much longer than I have. The word doesn't seem to be sinking in. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 27, 2014 @ 10:27 a.m.

Don: The problem is that the people in San Diego will eventually get taken to the cleaners over a new stadium. I feel it's inevitable. It's not a question of if, but when. And the longer they wait, the worse that bill will be.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 11:24 a.m.

aardvark: If Faulconer is elected, a massive stadium subsidy is a sure thing. Hopefully, Alvarez would resist. He has expressed skepticism before. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Jan. 27, 2014 @ 10:31 a.m.

a bit like drug users, no matter what they are told, they don't stop.

maybe the rush of a sporting ( entertainment) event is addictive.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 11:27 a.m.

Murphyjunk: I am a complete hypocrite. I have been blasting football stadium giveaways since 1996 and still watch pro games. I will watch the Super Bowl, I am ashamed to say. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Jan. 27, 2014 @ 12:19 p.m.

I never got into it, I think I avoided it all in my youth being away with military work.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 4:11 p.m.

Murphyjunk: I didn't play football in high school. Chicken. I did play basketball, although probably spent more time on the bench than on the court. I watch some basketball when the NCAA Final Four comes around, but otherwise am disinterested. I was a horrible golfer but enjoy watching the pros play. Best, Don Bauder

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Joaquin_de_la_Mesa Jan. 27, 2014 @ 10:37 a.m.

When will this madness stop? When will people realize that professional sports franchises are just that… professional. They're out to make money. To them, the cities they exist in are large clusters of customers, nothing more. And once those customers are enslaved, they demand that they not only buy tickets and t-shirts but to spend millions and even billions on new stadiums.

Then there's the product. It's pure soap opera these days. My mother-in-law was into the Patriots-Broncos game just to see her favorite villain Tom Brady go down to her favorite good guy Peyton Manning. The NFL has become the WWF.

Sports purists ought to run the other way from this commercialized nonsense. You like football? Go watch your local high school play. Better yet, go PLAY football.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 11:47 a.m.

Joaquin_de_la_Mesa: What's more, the franchises and the NFL refuse to reveal the fat profits they reel in, and still the taxpayers shell out hundreds of millions of dollars for stadiums.

The media will play up some tiny contribution the league or a team makes to some charity, without noting that the eleemosynary money is a wee fraction of what the teams and league rake in. It's an embarrassment -- an embarrassment of riches for the teams, and an embarrassment of non-professionalism by the media. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 28, 2014 @ 11:14 a.m.

What's even more the government allows the NFL to retain non-profit status like they are a charity or something.

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2014 @ 7:44 p.m.

ImJustABill: The teams pay taxes. But the administration of the NFL does not pay taxes, permitting Roger Goodell, head of the NFL (the Nonprofit Football League) to rake in $30 million in pay in 2011. That part stinks. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 27, 2014 @ 11:53 a.m.

And yet the Patriots play in a stadium that was paid for by Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner. Sounds like a good idea for San Diego.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 11:59 a.m.

aardvark: Of course, Kraft tried every trick in the book, including threatening to move the team to Hartford (a goofy idea), before he capitulated. And he didn't capitulate completely. Government money supported the infrastructure for that stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 27, 2014 @ 12:16 p.m.

Don: True, but he did build it, and Foxboro paid a fraction (I think) of the monies that San Diego would have to fork over.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 2:11 p.m.

aardvark: As I recall, both state and local money was involved in the infrastructure projects. And you are right: that money was a fraction of what the Chargers would get in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 27, 2014 @ 3:44 p.m.

I believe Kraft ending up spending around $275 million, although the NFL financed half of it. That in its self was a bargain since the loan is repayable over 15 years from club seat revenue that would have gone to the visiting team. And it was the state that ponied up he $70 million for infrastructure work, not the city of Foxborough.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2014 @ 4:15 p.m.

danfogel: I do know the state was a major player. I will take your word for it. A big question is whether the NFL would loan money for a Chargers stadium when it really wants one in L.A. (despite what some people say.) Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 28, 2014 @ 8:59 p.m.

Don't know whether or not the NFL would loan the Chargers money for a new stadium, but if one gets built, I don't see why they wouldn't since they are loaning the 49er's $200million and, from what I have read, between $100 and $200 million. As for a team in Los Angeles, Roger Goodell has said on the record that the NFL wants teams in both Los Angeles and London and they don't care which one comes first.

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danfogel Jan. 30, 2014 @ 7:26 p.m.

BTW, I forgot to include the fact that the owner of the Rams closed escrow in December on a site in Inglewood between the Forum and Hollywood Park that has been talked about a a potential NFL stadium site since Al Davis first moved the Raiders to Los Angeles. And as it just so happens, the Rams can get out of there lease in St. Louis after the upcoming stadium. It might be possible that Spanos waited too long to pull the trigger on a move to L.A. With the NFL wanting a team in L.A., and the Rams being next to last in attendance last season, the move makes sense. But really, who knows wtf any of these guys are thinking.

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2014 @ 11:27 a.m.

danfogel: Yes, I made a casual reference to that purchase on this blog. St. Louis really would be getting reamed on this one. I don't think the Rams put a nickel in that stadium. I have written about that Rams scam before. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2014 @ 8:36 a.m.

danfogel: My guess is that residents of London want Los Angeles to be first. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 31, 2014 @ 10:32 a.m.

Don Bauder, your guess would be wrong. The NFL is HUGE in London. There will be 3 games in Wembley next season and several more are contracted to be played thru 2016. There was a meeting a couple of years ago after which one of the team owners said it wasn't a case of if the NFL would expand to London, but when, and that when was within 5-10 years max. Over the next 3 or 4 yrs, Jacksonville will play the most games in London. Coincidentally, or maybe not, their billionaire owner also owns a football team in the Premier league. It would cost him close to $100 million to get out of his lease in Jacksonville, but something tells me that the NFL would give him a little "assistance" were he to be the one to "help" the NFL by moving a Team to London. Here are some interesting stats. Surveys have found that there are more than 13 million NFL fans in England and it was reported that around 10Million households tuned into last year's Super Bowl. However, the most interesting stat I have read is that thru the games played in 2012, merchandise sales at each game have been more that $1million. That's for each game played. So I think yeah, London likes the NFL and the NFL would love to be in London, sooner rather than later.

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2014 @ 11:30 a.m.

danfogel: I am not arguing with you, and perhaps I spoke out of ignorance. Still, three games is not enough to draw a conclusion from. And having Jacksonville play there regularly may cure the Londoners of their desire to watch football. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 31, 2014 @ 12:05 p.m.

Of course you are entitled to your own point of view.
The NFL has been playing at Wembley since the 2007 season. I think the total is 15 games or so, about half of them regular season. This season it was 2 games, next year it will be three and at least 3 the following 2 seasons. All of the previous games have been sell outs I believe, Wembley seats 80K plus btw, and it was announced this morning that all three of next seasons game are already sold out. At this point, I think it is actually enough to draw the conclusion that Londoners enjoy watching NFL football.

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2014 @ 7:55 p.m.

danfogel: OK, they enjoy football. But they WORSHIP soccer. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Feb. 1, 2014 @ 9:19 a.m.

By any definition, soccer is by far THE most popular game in the world. But, do you know what the second most popular game is? Here's a hint, it's an American game that's been an Olympic sport since the '36 Games in Berlin.

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Don Bauder Feb. 1, 2014 @ 7:38 p.m.

danfogel: You've got me on that one. I have no idea what the second most popular sport in the U.S. is. Volley ball? Ping pong? Poker? Scrabble? Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Feb. 3, 2014 @ 9:03 a.m.

Sarcasm duly noted, and, dare I say, expected. However, I think you need to get your eyes checked, or at least show enough courtesy to actually read the complete comment. It was the second most popular sport in the world , not the United States. Hence the reference to the Olympics, which is a gathering of the WORLD's best athletes. LOL

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aardvark Jan. 27, 2014 @ 4:42 p.m.

Danfogel: Thanks for that info. I looked but couldn't find it.

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ImJustABill Jan. 27, 2014 @ 7:46 p.m.

It will be funny if Buffalo taxpayers build a new subsidized outdoor stadium. Now that we've broken the cold weather barrier, we'll see if the NFL keeps up with their normal Super Bowl reward for building a new stadium.

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aardvark Jan. 28, 2014 @ 8:40 a.m.

ImJustABill: I was just reading about those possibilities on Wikipedia--a project of a domed stadium, convention center, hotel, at NO COST to the taxpayers (allegedly). Oh, and it's projected cost is $1.4 billion--but no cost to the taxpayer (allegedly).

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2014 @ 2:01 p.m.

aardvark: There is usually a claim that there will be no cost to taxpayers -- nonsense, of course. Taxpayers generally end up paying 70% to 80% of a stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2014 @ 10:07 a.m.

ImJustABill: The owner of the Bills is getting along in years. He claims he won't move the team out of Buffalo, but we don't know if he has pinned down his potential heirs on that point. I doubt if there will be a new stadium in Buffalo. I can't think of a worse site for a Super Bowl. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 28, 2014 @ 9:28 p.m.

Ralph Wilson is 94 or 95 yrs old. I don't about "pinning down his heirs", but I do know that just over a year ago, the Bills signed a new lease for 10 yrs. And it has some pretty severe penalties if the Bills try to leave, like a $400 million penalty if they leave Buffalo before 2023 with the exception that, after the seventh year only, they would pay only a $29 million penalty. After that year, the penalty would go back to $400 million. There's also about $150million going to be spent on renos. I don't think the Bills are going anywhere anytime soon

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2014 @ 8:42 a.m.

danfogel: I think that is a good observation. It looks like there won't be a Los Angeles Bills team. However, the owner of the St. Louis Rams has just bought some land in L.A. It has always been rumored that this Rams team, which got its St. Louis facility gratis after L.A. wouldn't cough up, would attempt to move back, thus screwing St. Louis. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 31, 2014 @ 9:58 a.m.

Don Bauder, see my comment posted above last night. And what I forgot to include in that comment was that ESPN reported the close of the sale over a month ago.

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2014 @ 11:33 a.m.

danfogel: Usually, bad news travels quickly. In this case, it apparently did not. People in St. Louis should prepare for taking it in the shorts. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 27, 2014 @ 8:46 p.m.

I suspect the number of middle class jobs involved with an NFL franchise is probably quite low. A small number of highly paid coaches and players and a whole bunch of concession people, ushers, etc who probably barely make minimum wage.

Interestingly, many cheerleaders (according to a recent lawsuit) don't even get paid minimum wage http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10334429/cheerleaders-file-suit-oakland-raiders-wage-theft-unfair-employment-practices

The tax money for the most part goes to owners, players, coaches, and agents.

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2014 @ 2:03 p.m.

ImJustABill: Players are very generously paid (except when you consider the injuries that plague their lives after football); it's the owners -- mostly billionaires -- who rake in the big bucks. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 28, 2014 @ 3:24 p.m.

Well, to put this in perspective the Sochi Olympics may end up costing more than $50 BILLION. And according to some reports more than half of that $50B may be going to bribes and other corrupt unnecessary expenses.

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aardvark Jan. 28, 2014 @ 4:11 p.m.

ImJustABill: Something the idiots that think San Diego should host an Olympics would do well to consider.

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2014 @ 7:46 p.m.

aardvark: Hosting an Olympics is a losing venture. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 31, 2014 @ 12:09 p.m.

I believe that the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles would be an exception to your conclusion.

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2014 @ 7:59 p.m.

danfogel: That's what LA claims, anyway. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Feb. 1, 2014 @ 9:13 a.m.

You are entitled to your own somewhat biased opinion, of course. And no it isn't Los Angeles making that claim. It is almost universally agreed that the 1984 Summer Olympics are considered the most financially successful modern Olympics. I will defer to the U.S. Olympic Committee, as the organizing committee turned much of the $200k+ profits over to them. Peter Ueberroth was adamant that the Olympics be designed to break even or even provide a profit. They were able to do it because of a number of things. One was the use of corporate sponsorship. There were no huge expenditures for new facilities; the only two new permanent venues constructed for the Games, the Velodrome at Cal State Dominguez Hills campus and the Swim Stadium at USC, were paid for by corporate sponsors. That's it. They also used hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers, including my wife and I and her aunt and her partner. And the broadcast rights alone brought in more that $200 million from ABC, which was 3 times as much than had ever been paid at that point. And since the 1984 Games were privately financed, there was no danger of taxpayers being on the hook for any expenses anyway.

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danfogel Feb. 1, 2014 @ 11:21 a.m.

$200k+ profits should be $200million + prifits

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Don Bauder Feb. 1, 2014 @ 7:43 p.m.

danfogel: Didn't Ueberroth run for some political office and lose? Maybe he should have won. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Feb. 3, 2014 @ 8:57 a.m.

I have no idea what the relevance of Ueberroth's political activities some 20 yrs after the privately financed and profitable 1984 Olympics is to those games. Yes, Ueberroth ran for Governor after the recall of Gray Davis, though I think he actually dropped out before the election. I don't know if he "should" have one, but in hind sight, he couldn't have been any worse than Arnie, could he?

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2014 @ 4:14 p.m.

ImJustABill: $50 billion? I haven't heard that figure. Where did you get it? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2014 @ 7:46 p.m.

ImJustABill: Wow. Amazing. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 28, 2014 @ 9:55 p.m.

Yeah. Billion with a B. Amazing is right.

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Duhbya Jan. 29, 2014 @ 6:37 a.m.

Yikes. I wonder what it would climb to were these the summer Olympics. That's 7-10 billion more than the extravaganza in Beijing. Granted, the security issues facing the Russians are formidable, but there are far fewer athletes to house than during the summer games. In addition to the bribes, it looks as if they've overspent on the construction of most, if not all, of the venues required to stage the competitions. I suppose the two are interconnected.

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Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2014 @ 8:24 p.m.

Duhbya: Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996. A ballpark was constructed for the Atlanta Braves. They already want another one. And want taxpayers to chip in big bucks. Hosting Olympics is a losing proposition. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2014 @ 8:20 p.m.

ImJustABill: I am worried about what kind of violence may occur in Sochi. Best, Don Bauder

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