San Francisco Reportedly to Pay $4.8 Million to Host Pre-Super Bowl Festivities

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2016

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, workers install sod on the field at Levi's Stadium in preparation for the NFL's Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. Less than four weeks out from the Super Bowl, the field is nearly ready to be played on thanks to long days at Levi’s Stadium by the crew working to install fresh sod and make every necessary tweak in regards to weather and other potential issues. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The city of San Francisco is hosting Super Bowl 50 festivities leading up to the game on Feb. 7 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and according to a city budget analyst's report (via Chris Roberts of SF Weekly), doing so will cost the city over $4.8 million.

Per Roberts, the Super Bowl Host Committee has only pledged roughly $104,000 to help ease the costs, while the NFL isn't contributing any money. That's in contrast to Santa Clara's nearly $3.6 million bill to host the actual game, which is being fully paid for by the Super Bowl Host Committee.

"The City got a real bad deal. It is a huge subsidy for the NFL. Santa Clara got a good deal. They were smart. They called for economic impact before going into agreement with the NFL," said John Avalos, a member of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, per Joshua Sabatini of the San Francisco Examiner. "We should get reimbursed by the NFL. It looks like the NFL was given a pass or the Mayor's Office failed miserably in negotiating a good deal."

Supervisor Jane Kim has called for "emergency legislation" that would ensure San Francisco didn't simply break even or lose money on the event, though it remains unclear who would be responsible for paying the bill, per Roberts.

Mayor Ed Lee's spokeswoman, Christine Falvey, countered by saying, per Sabatini, "The report does a good job of tallying costs without calculating any benefits. Mayor Lee was part of bringing the Super Bowl to the Bay Area because he sees a huge financial win for The City."

That financial benefit is hardly guaranteed. According to Roberts, Glendale, Arizona, lost money on both of the Super Bowls it hosted in the past decade, and the cost to host the big game has risen significantly over the past 15 years, per a report from Josh Peter of USA Today in January 2015.

As San Francisco has discovered, hosting the pregame festivities without even hosting the Super Bowl itself is no cheap endeavor either.