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NFL sacks San Francisco with Super Bowl costs

As San Francisco supervisors debated earlier this week whether the Super Bowl Host Committee should pay for costs to The City for hosting two Super Bowl events, a new report released Friday from the Board of Supervisors budget and legislative analyst Harvey Rose said The City should try to get those costs covered.

In the report, requested by Supervisor John Avalos in December, it states that the city of Santa Clara, where Super Bowl 50 will actually be played at Levi’s Stadium, has an agreement with the host committee to get reimbursed for its expenses related to hosting the Super Bowl event, which includes fire, safety and emergency services.

The host committee agreed to pay Santa Clara back $3.6 million, the report said.

Avalos spoke to SFBay on the release of the report:

“It shows the The City did not bother to negotiate at all or negotiated poorly.”

He said it was not too late for Mayor Ed Lee to go back to the host committee and negotiate a better deal and to let not let Santa Clara show The City how its done, which is what the report is recommending.

San Francisco is only getting reimbursed for costs associated with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department staff setting up the event areas and the fire department would get partially reimbursed for its services. The estimated reimbursement total for both is $104,257.

The report said The City did not sign an agreement between the host committee or NFL for any other reimbursement costs. Furthermore, the report states that the fire, police and emergency management departments signed assurances that it would not seek reimbursement from the NFL for providing extra services during the events.

The City is hosting the Super Bowl City fan village and the NFL Experience, which will cause traffic detours and Muni reroutes starting on Jan. 23 and lasting until Feb. 12.

It will cost The City around $4.9 million to host both events, which includes costs from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation for providing extra transit service and parking control officers to direct traffic. The mayor’s office had first initially estimated the total cost at $4 million.

Avalos is not the only supervisor who thinks the host committee should pay for additional costs for the Super Bowl events. At a hearing on Jan. 12 at the supervisor’s Land Use and Transportation Committee, Supervisor Jan Kim also criticized the deal for not seeking any reimbursements from the host committee.

Kim sent this statement out on the report:

“This was never about welcoming visitors to San Francisco – of course we welcome anyone who wants to visit our amazing City. But I’ve said it from the beginning and this report confirms my fears: taxpayers are being sacked to pay for a party for billionaires and special interests. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar corporation and can pay for its own marketing and should absolutely reimburse San Franciscans for every single cent.”

The report also criticized city departments for not disclosing surpluses — now available to help pay for the Super Bowl event costs — when the Board of Supervisors reviewed budgets for the 2015-2016 fiscal year:

“This fact represents a nondisclosure to the Board of Supervisors of significant expenditures to be incurred on Super Bowl 50 events and represents a disservice to the Board of Supervisors in the Board’s review of the City’s annual budget.”

Read the full report here (PDF).

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