SPORTS

This Year's Super Bowl May Have Cost Its Host City A Ton Of Money

But at least the city (probably) didn't lose as much as the last time it hosted.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on the field during Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on the field during Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.

Glendale, Arizona, likely lost hundreds of thousands of dollars hosting Super Bowl XLIX in February, a new analysis commissioned by the city found.

Glendale may have brought in at least $13,000 from hosting the NFL's championship celebration, according to one scenario included in the analysis, on which The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday. Another possibility is that Glendale lost as much as $1.2 million, the report says. The likeliest reality, however, is that the city lost $579,000. 

The various scenarios use different estimates for expenses and increases in tax receipts related to the game, the Republic reports. 

Arizona officials tried to put a positive spin on the report, saying that while the Super Bowl likely cost the city of Glendale money -- as its mayor predicted before the game -- it was beneficial to the state, particularly because related events were held in nearby Phoenix.

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill went so far as to dismiss the report altogether.

"I don’t know how they measured it, but there’s no doubt in my mind that -- like in the past -- it’s been a huge economic impact to the city of Glendale," he told the Republic. "To the idea that they say there was a negative one, I think it’s not a credible statement."

Hosting the Super Bowl may have had small positive economic benefits for the city and the Phoenix metro area despite the costs, but its impact likely wasn't noticeable in the overall economy. Even the rosiest pre-Super Bowl projection -- an estimate of $720 million in benefits to the region -- would amount to a small fraction of the area's economy, and research has shown that financial impact estimates for events like the Super Bowl are almost always vastly overstated

There is some positive news in the report for Glendale, which has ended up on the wrong end of pro sports economics repeatedly in recent years. This year's Super Bowl, at least, cost the city less than the one it hosted in 2008, when Glendale reportedly lost as much as $1.6 million.

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