We Already Know Who Lost The Super Bowl

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Who is going to win the Super Bowl, Denver or Carolina?

I don’t know, but we already know the identity of the loser: San Francisco

The city of San Francisco, already facing a deficit, is realizing two weeks before the big game that Super Bowl festivities will leave them with more than $4.3 million in costs.

To cover it, a city analysis shows, the mayor’s office has asked departments to identify million in surplus moneys, or to redirect staff time and other resources from projects to support the Super Bowl.

The departments have found the surpluses, the analysis found, and that’s not good news –because they weren’t supposed to have surpluses, at least according to what they told the Board of Supervisors during the budget review for this fiscal year.

Even worse, San Francisco has no written agreement with the NFL or the Super Bowl host committee, and the city’s fire, police and emergency management departments, when the Bay Area bid on the game, signed letters promising not to seek reimbursement from the NFL for public safety services in support of Super Bowl-related events.

And the game itself isn’t in San Francisco—it’s in Santa Clara (which did get a written agreement on costs).

This state of afffairs is more than an embarrassment to San Francisco. It’s a reminder that only fools court professional football. Sadly, there’s a new NFL team in California – the Rams have moved to Los Angeles. And worse still, the Rams are building a new stadium that is supposed to host Super Bowls.

Let’s hope that Inglewood, a much less prosperous place than San Francisco, makes sure to get its costs reimbursed.

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