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.