How Much Did the Super Bowl Cost Taxpayers This Year?

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, it's time to reconsider the allegiance of cities to professional sports teams.
February 3, 2013, 11am PST | boramici
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Elvert Barnes

Since 1990, taxpayers have been paying more than 60% of the bill for new NFL stadiums and more than 59% for new professional baseball stadiums in the U.S. While professional sports teams are integral to their host cities, the sense of "identity and civic pride" they lend comes "at such a high price, one extracted not by these civic-minded fans, mind you, but by a uniquely undemocratic cabal of mayors and monopolists," writes Harry Moroz.

This year's Super Bowl in New Orleans's rehabbed Superdome comes with a pricetag of $471 million to taxpayers with $41 million of those coming from FEMA.

Several survey-based recent studies show that the value taxpayers place on professional sports team retention in their cities does not match up to the cost of building new stadiums or even renovating existing ones.

What keeps the cycle of dependence going?

"With a limited supply and a more or less credible threat of leaving a city, sports teams are able to appeal to the risk-averse part of city leaders’ brains: People forget about $100 million lost here or there, but the departure of a sports team will be written in a mayor’s obituary."

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Published on Friday, February 1, 2013 in Next City
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