Crain’s admits Super Bowl impact overblown, says still “windfall” because it just is, okay?

I guess this is a victory of a sort: After a flurry of articles calling into question the NFL’s claims of an economic windfall for New York and New Jersey from hosting the Super Bowl, including mine and one from the Associated Press, Crain’s New York business columnist (isn’t that redundant?) Greg David began his column yesterday by writing, “The Super Bowl probably didn’t generate the $500 million in economic activity that the host committee claimed based on a study that wasn’t credible enough to be released.” But no worries, because, as he explained in perfect 5th-grade persuasive-essay format (topic sentence, details, concluding sentence), the game was still a “windfall” for its host city. Why?

  • The Super Bowl was free advertising for New York. Because who can put a price on putting New York on the tourist map?
  • The Super Bowl “highlighted the city’s ability to handle any big event in stride.” This is really the same as point #1, but is especially hilarious given that the main visitor memory of the game is likely to be this.
  • “The hotels did well.” David might have wanted to actually call some hotels; the AP did, and found that many were actually underbooked, with one midtown hotel manager declaring, “All of the anticipation and the hype about what this was going to bring for hotels in New York City has not materialized.”
  • “One of the biggest subliminal messages is that winter in New York is not a big problem for tourists.” Admittedly, the weather on Sunday was lovely. So long as you left straight for the airport at halftime and didn’t wait until the next day for your flight, when, not so lovely.
  • You didn’t need pricey game tickets to be a part of the action. There was a giant slide in Times Square, and only a 45-minute wait to ride on it! And, um, the press conference in Newark was free! Who can put a price on that?

Speaking of putting a price on things, David didn’t attempt to do any of that, because “windfall” is such a nice evocative word. His concluding sentence: “Big events are important to the city, and should be a part of any administration’s economic agenda.” Business journalism, ladies and gentlemen.


7 comments on “Crain’s admits Super Bowl impact overblown, says still “windfall” because it just is, okay?

  1. RE: “Big events are important to the city, and should be a part of any administration’s economic agenda???”
    So, basically there is NO evidence that a “big event” such as a Super Bowl, brings any kind of economic benefit to the host city, yet an administration should include “big events” as a component of their agenda? That makes ZERO sense. Perhaps he MEANT to say:
    “”Big events are important to the city, and should be a part of any administration’s Super-Terrific Fun Time agenda.”

  2. I think one can argue that it is part of the role of any city gov’t to “help” bring attractions to the city, whether these are one off events or otherwise.

    As with job creation programs, however, the issue is what benefit is being brought and at what cost.

    I’m fondly looking forward to the day when the NFL has to stage it’s own superbowls at sites it pays to host because everyone else has figured out the scam. But I’m not sure I’ll live that long…

  3. How is this a scam? Like seriously? NY/NJ bid to host the Super Bowl, the TV companies like Fox, CBS, NBC & ESPN don’t get any money for bringing their sets to the city. I think NJ has a legit complaint because NY gets all the events and not NJ which is wrong I think.

    But overall, this still generates economic activity because people fly in, hotels get filled, stores get customers and restaurants have guests. Reading the comment section for the Rams Kronke buying LA land where the man rightfully grills Neil is correct.

    Neil makes money off this site by trying to run down any stadium plan. Hell Levi’s Stadium is doing really well and Neil’s take was, “Well, hey they got get it right one day.”

    Neil never talks about companies that receive huge tax subsidies for moving to a new city or state, you know why because it creates jobs and that means more tax revenue to get from their employees just like sports teams etc.

    I like this site because there are stadiums deals that need to be pointed out for outrageous unfairness (Paul Brown Stadium) but at the same time, Neil isn’t exactly fair with his reporting. I would love for him to report about other Fortune 500 companies not related to sports that reap in tax subsidies.

    But hey, Neil uses this site to try and make money from advertising, hell he even wants donations and he’s gotten a public media profile out of this but people should call him out on his reporting.

  4. I welcome being called out for my reporting if I screw something up, but I’m a little puzzled what you think I got wrong:

    • “This still generates economic activity because people fly in, hotels get filled, stores get customers and restaurants have guests”: Actually, not so much: See the articles linked in the first sentence of this post. (If you’re not satisfied with my reporting, AP’s findings are if anything even more dismal.)

    • “Neil never talks about companies that receive huge tax subsidies for moving to a new city or state”: Sure I do, just not on this site. But, for example: http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/4802/freshdirect-job-vows-at-odds-with-environmental-claims

    • I do get some money from this site, that’s true. I also average 1-2 hours a day on researching and writing it, which over a full year comes to a wage rate of just over $10/hour. If I’m doing this for the money, I’m going about it all wrong.

  5. One linked article stated: “Additionally, the $1.6 billion Meadowlands stadium is one of the few built with private funds, so the touchy subject of taxpayers funding the fields won’t be factored in.” (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/30/the-nfl-s-super-bowl-con-hosting-the-big-game-isn-t-an-economic-score-for-cities.html)
    Is this true?

  6. Mostly. They got a property tax break and free land, but otherwise paid their own bills:

    http://www.fieldofschemes.com/2006/12/22/1592/giants-jets-get-early-xmas-present-from-nj/

  7. Interesting. And are they still paying for the old stadium? I thought I had heard that at one point.

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