Well, it's here. We've finally recovered from the sturm und drang that was Super Bowl 50, and now San Francisco's City Controller has figured out how much it cost us and how much we made. But don't think that that is the end of the conversation! As the numbers weren't a definitive blowout in either direction, San Francisco's leaders still have plenty of room to squabble over if the event was a Superb Owl or a Up R Bowel. Read on, and you'll see what I mean.
According to San Francisco's Office of the Controller, the Super Bowl's "overall net incremental impact is an estimated surplus of $2.0 million." That's with a total estimated revenues of $11.6 million and costs to the city of $9.6 million, the latter of which is more than double Mayor Ed Lee’s budget director Kate Howard's initial estimate of $3.5-4 million in costs.
"The estimated net General Fund (GF) Surplus was $2.6 million with a GF surplus of $1.2 million after considering Charter-mandated baseline allocations," the Controller's office writes, noting that the report "focused on the direct impact of SB 50 defined as the additional revenues and costs due to SB 50 that otherwise would not have occurred had San Francisco not hosted SB 50."
"Opportunity costs, the reallocation of resources that had no incremental budgetary impact, and/or impacts on staff productivity due to SB 50 were not a part of the report’s focus," they write.
You can check out the full report here, and I urge you to do so, because our next stop is the Spin Zone, which, sadly, is not a spot on a football field.
The first Supervisor to respond was District 2 Supe/litigant against San Francisco Mark Farrell, who wrote that "The ink on the economic impact of Super Bowl 50 is now dry, and San Francisco benefited from hosting the big game to the tune of an additional $2 million dollars added to our General Fund."
“The revenue San Francisco gained from hosting the historic big game far outweighed our City’s costs, and do not even reflect the historic $13 million donated to local charities from the Super Bowl Host Committee, the free marketing and exposure San Francisco received on the world stage for over a week, or the thousands of local workers and small businesses who benefitted from the over 1 million people who visited San Francisco for Super Bowl 50.”
Given that a lot of that "exposure" seemed to involve coverage of SF's tent city, I'm not so sure that we should be that psyched about that (and are we suffering from a lack of exposure otherwise?) but whatever. Farrell's about to go for the jugular:
“During the lead-up to the big game, many criticized the City’s costs for hosting Super Bowl 50, and now those criticisms should hopefully be put to bed where they belong. I know that the Super Bowl 50 festivities caused some inconveniences for our residents, but this report proves once and for all that San Francisco was made whole and then some.”
Farrell is, of course, referring to criticisms leveled against the city for failing to arrange any sort of compensation agreement with the NFL for the event by his fellow supes John Avalos, Jane Kim, and Aaron Peskin. Who are now going to apologize and say they were wrong, right?
Hahaha! You are so silly!
Shortly after Farrell's release went out, it was time for the Kim camp to take their stand. In a release headlined "Weak Deal Results in Minimal Net Gain from Super Bowl in San Francisco," Kim says that "San Franciscans were left paying the tab for the corporate marketing event in January while the NFL, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, pocketed $620 million in revenue from the Super Bowl in 2016."
“Some folks will argue that the minimal gains made by San Francisco from this corporate party justify the congestion, the street closures, the losses to local small businesses but anyone who would applaud the weak deal made with the NFL is not someone I want negotiating on my behalf or on behalf of the City,” Kim said in a quote, presumably casting a pointed glance in Farrell's direction.
She (and San Francisco Magazine) also took issue with the Controller's report, itself, saying that it "neglected to include costs such as the $429,000 in Market Street wifi improvements that were accelerated in order to accommodate the Super Bowl corporate party or the installation of MTA line switches on Market to Mission at a cost of $619,000, which they justify by saying that these improvements had been planned for the future. World-class cities like San Francisco should not be settling for chump change; we can do better than that.”
A bit after Kim's release appeared in inboxes, it was Peskin's time to shine, with a release that also folded in comment from Avalos and Kim. Characterizing the report as showing "revenue from hotel taxes and the SF airport ($6.2M and $1.8M respectively) and whopping $4M and $2.5M hits to the SFPD and SFMTA for services provided," Peskin says that "the report estimates a net revenue gain of $792,000 for San Francisco’s General Fund, though comes up short on quantifying the negative impacts to San Franciscans."
“To say we broke even is being generous, and that doesn’t start to address the abysmal process or the impact to neighborhoods and small businesses,” Peskin is quoted as saying in the release.
Avalos is then quoted as saying that “The report clearly shows who came out on top...While our City barely broke even, our residents and small businesses saw a clear shift of our local wealth to outside of San Francisco, with even beer sales being directly pocketed by Milwaukee-based Budweiser."
"Meanwhile, when Public Works says it only expended $100,000 because they’re just doing what they normally do, it begs the question as to what the level of service was for those 13 days in the outlying neighborhoods, like the Excelsior," Avalos says, making a usage error that always drives me crazy, as to "beg a question" means to assume the conclusion of an argument, it DOES NOT mean poses a question. OK, I'll get off that one.
Peskin's release had barely grown cold when Mayor Ed Lee's office sent out theirs. I'll just put it here:
Hosting Super Bowl 50 was a boon to San Francisco, to the region and to Bay Area charities. And, the Controller’s report now confirms that hosting Super Bowl 50 has had an overall positive impact on our City’s bottom line. The Controller reports $11.6 million estimated total City revenues that includes $6.2 million from hotel taxes and a $2.6 million net General Fund total surplus. Taxes generated go directly toward funding City services like libraries, street cleaning, paving, public safety and to our social safety net.
Hosting Super Bowl 50 exceeded our expectations, and I look forward to the Host Committee’s Economic Impact Report that will show how the event benefitted our workers, our small businesses and our greater regional economy. I thank the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee and everyone who helped make Super Bowl 50 an unqualified success, raising the bar on how to host a world class Super Bowl.
In addition to revenue directly generated by the event and the greater economic impact that is being studied, more than a million people from throughout the Bay Area and across San Francisco participated in free, family-friendly activities, concerts and other events at Super Bowl City. Local minority-owned, women-owned, LGBT-owned, and disabled veteran-owned businesses received $6 million in contracts related to the Super Bowl. Bay Area charities serving low income youth and families are receiving $13 million in grants.
None of the releases, it should be noted, bothered to mention the best thing about the event, the unarguably delightful Puppy Bowl Cafe.
So, what do you guys think? Was our Super Bowl glass half empty or half full? If you still can't decide, do I have a meeting for you: The Board of Supes Budget & Finance Committee, which is comprised of Supervisors Farrell, Katy Tang, Norman Yee, Jane Kim, and Scott Wiener will be discussing the SB50 impact report on Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Might be a good one!