Will taxpayers support Super Bowl?

February 7, 2008
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Arizona residents’ willingness to pay higher taxes may have a strong impact on Indianapolis’ effort to land the 2012 Super Bowl. Funding from Arizona’s corporate community paid for 80 percent of the host city’s Super Bowl bill this year. But with a slumping economy, local Arizona leaders said more--much more--money will have to come from taxpayers’ pockets if they want to host the 2012 game.

Some Arizona residents are already bristling at paying more, and that could be a bad sign for football fans in the desert. Last year, the Indianapolis corporate community pledged $25 million to the local host fund--far ahead of the National Football League’s deadline. Though new Mayor Greg Ballard is studying the bid situation, there are indications that Indianapolis’ corporate community will again reach deep within their pockets to attract the big game. But Indianapolis officials said, the economy is a factor here, too, and little has been officially secured.

Houston, Indianapolis and Phoenix are the front runners to land the 2012 Super Bowl.

Do you think Indianapolis’ corporate community will come through with money to host the Super Bowl? If not, will taxpayers here willing to pay?
  • I am sorry, but my tax money needs to go to supporting the public. Specifically, it needs to support those who need health care, education and other services that benefit the good of our society - NOT football.
  • Since when do lawmakers ever ask my permission to tax me? There will always be some other bidding city with more hotel rooms, bigger stadiums and better weather. Why bother to bid?
  • We all want services, ammenities and all of the other things that make our lives here nice, but nobody wants to pay. Having the Super Bowl here would be a showcase to this city like no other. It brings nearly $200 million in direct spending and raises the profile of this city to a corporate, white-collar audience that otherwise might only think of cornfields and hayseeds when contemplating the Hoosier capital. No, I don't like taxes either, but some things are worth paying for. This may very well be one of those things.
  • Most of my friend and I do not support the public financing of sports teams at all nor do they support public financing of the arts. Let them support themselfs.
  • Well said Matt. You said exactly what I was thinking. Kay it is fine with me that you and your friends do not support public financing of sports and the arts but before being so quick to dismiss them you must remember the income and recognition sports bring to the city. As Matt said, the revenue that a Super Bowl would bring Indianapolis would be incredible. There is hotel tax, food tax, and sales tax that all those visitors would be paying in addition to raising the city's profile. Indianapolis is already one of the most loved cities with the NCAA Final Four let us show that we can do a great job with the Super Bowl too.
  • To Matt & Maddy:

    Of course the superbowl could bring in more money to local business, making it worth the investment. However, until there is a plan for future tax abatement based on the additional revenue, or an unbiased verified assessment of increased employment, it doesn't make sense. Especially after the billion dollars just spent on the new stadium.
  • They really need to justify the return on investment for a one time $25 million party.
  • I'm wondering what exactly it is you folks want as a justified return. Are you looking for $100 bills to rain from the sky. Everyone screams for an ROI, and I don't think most people even understand what that means. You want ROI, let's start with Circle Centre Mall. It never happens without the vibrancy that the local sports operations bring to this city. That's one single--albeit a big one--return. There are many. And, whether you like to admit it or not, they affect all of our lives. I think for the better. As for calling the Super Bowl a one time $25 million party, that's just naive. The impact that party has on this, or any, city is immense. And that impact will be felt long, long after the game is over.
  • The impact that “party” has on this, or any, city is immense. And that impact will be felt long, long after the game is over.

    If the impact is to transfer tax funds from public coffers to benefit certain favored private concerns, are we just supposed to close our eyes and hope the supply-side fairy trickles down on us? Is it too much to ask for some unbiased numbers?
  • Harry: Check out the posting on this site about Mark Rosentraub's new book due out this summer. The book is called Major League Winners, and I think it will provide the information you're looking for. While Rosentraub is a nationally renowned sports economist, he's no cheerleader for sports teams, etc. In fact his first book, titled Major League Losers takes a very critical look at the subsidies that sports operations receive. I'd call Rosentraub an unbiased source, and I think he's going to give you some hard numbers. And I think you'll find that his conclusion shows that Indianapolis has been very wise in the tax and other money it has invested into sports operations.

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