NFL demands for Super Bowl hosts include free police, billboards, golf courses, first-born children

Thinking of hosting a Super Bowl in your backyard? The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has unearthed the list of demands that the NFL presents cities with (or at least presented Minneapolis with) in exchange for awarding the Super Bowl, and holy moley, it’s even crazier than anyone thought:

  • A free squad of city police officers to stop the sales of counterfeit tickets and unauthorized merchandise.
  • A waiver of government licensing fees for as many as 450 courtesy cars and buses.
  • A one-mile-wide “clean zone” around the Super Bowl stadium and a six-block one around the NFL’s hotel where nobody can do anything that isn’t approved by the league. (Sell stuff or protest, presumably.)
  • At least 20 free billboards.
  • Travel costs for 180 people to take a “familiarization trip” in advance of the Super Bowl.
  • Use of 35,000 free parking spaces.
  • Hotels where the teams will stay must televise the NFL Network to guests for one year before the game.
  • Free cellphone towers, if the cellphone service isn’t good enough.
  • Installation of ATMs at the stadium that accept the NFL’s preferred credit and debit cards, and removal of ATMs for conflicting services.
  • Free ad space in local newspapers and air time on local radio stations to promote the game.
  • Free police escorts for team owners.
  • Free use of two “top quality bowling venues,” for the Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic, and of three “top quality golf courses” for the NFL Foundation Golf Classic.
  • And, last but not least, full exemption for the league from city, county, and state taxes.

The NFL’s bid requirement document begins with the statement that “the day of the Super Bowl game [is] America’s unofficial holiday, a day when the attention of an entire nation is focused on the game in one region.” So don’t think of it as handing over your wallet to one of the world’s richest sports leagues, Minneapolis. Think of it as tithing.


21 comments on “NFL demands for Super Bowl hosts include free police, billboards, golf courses, first-born children

  1. So, having listed out all of the extortion requests the NFL lays out, the question that has to be asked is WHAT is the financial benefit of hosting a Super Bowl???

    The city & state politicians lobbying to secure a Super Bowl NEVER provide clear economic dollars of how a Super Bowl benefits a city/state…they always speak in terms of nebulous “it will be great for our city to be on the world stage!” That’s it.

  2. Sorry, I guess I thought that went without saying, given the number of times I’ve harped on it on this site. But for anyone who needs a handy reference of all the ways the Super Bowl does squat for your city, here are a couple of links:

  3. “a day when the attention of an entire nation is focused on the game” Huh? Are they aware that half the country doesn’t watch the Super Bowl?

    I hope that the rest of the media picks this story up. It would be a shame if it only appears in one newspaper.

  4. It won’t matter how many papers pick up this story, the local pols and most of the citizens of the host Super Bowl cities won’t care. No matter how much the NFL hoovers out of their pockets, they always think they’ll make it up on volume or fairy dust or something. Even my own city of Scottsdale is giving $450,000 for a Super Bowl party that was going to take place anyway, while our neighbor Glendale prepares to lose a few million for the dubious honor of being mentioned a few times in a TV broadcast. (At least Minnesota might sell a few extra hotel rooms; why anybody thinks we need a football game to sell resort rooms in Arizona in January is beyond me.)

  5. The NFL and the Cities that bid on the Super Bowl have this song and dance of the importance of hosting a Super Bowl and it’s ever lasting influence. I suspect if you stopped 100 people at random, the vast majority could not correctly name in what cities the last Super Bowl was held in, let alone the last 5 cities.

    Fact is the whole Super Bowl “Experience” is just a facade. It is like a Hollywood set with false fronts.

    Congratulation to Minneapolis Star-Tribune for revealing this list.

  6. What about the pony? They forgot the pony…

    Cities should kick these leeches to the curb. They won’t, obviously, because everyone should be willing to pay to host a not for profit business that earns money of brain injuries inflicted on its’ (sometimes well paid) employees.

    A couple of years ago when I first heard someone say the ‘concussion crisis’ would be “the end of the NFL as we know it” I though they were nuts. Given enough time for the lawsuits to work their way through the courts, I’m no longer sure that that POV is nuts.

  7. Star-Tribune has certainly done a service to the tax payers of cities that host these games. My home state of Indiana certainly would not have investigated the concessions provided to the NFL to host the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. I wonder if the concessions agreements had a simple “check all” option.

  8. Hey, but we’re a NON PROFIT organization. Like a charity, sort of. We shouldn’t have to pay for anything. What are you, some kind of commie? :-)

  9. I really want these NFL officials to go golfing in Minnesota. In January. Yeah, in shirtsleeves. Go on fellas, live a little!

  10. Hi Neil

    A little OT but did anyone notice that the Mercury News estimate for luxury suite sales revenue is way off?

    “The team keeps the revenue from the luxury boxes, which cost $150,000 to $500,000 and fit more than a dozen people. With the suite tower sold out, the luxury box revenue is believed to be in the range of $400 million, though the 49ers would not reveal the exact total.”

    Even if all 165 suites were sold at the $500,000 max it would only bring in $82.5 million.

  11. Goodell has got to go. Ordinarily, I don’t think something like this would be put on blast by the media, but it must have been so outrageous that the powers that be wanted everyone to see it. The guy takes full advantage of his power and has no shame about it.

  12. Pssst. This old billionaire’s been dipping in to the cognac a little too much tonight, in celebration of our royal fleecing of the state of Minnesota. So I’ll let you in on a little secret….the greatest trick the NFL devil ever pulled was making the American public think they couldn’t possibly live without him. Heh heh heh.

    I love the smell of public stadium cash in the morning!

  13. Hosting SB 50 was a real “no brainer” for the Santa Clara Council.

  14. Rob Higgins (Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Director) on Twitter:

    “While we’ll never publicly discuss details of our bids/process, the SB’s incredible ROI greatly exceeds the investment which is why so many communities jump at the opportunity to bid & it gets exponentially more competitive every year.”

  15. Apparently there are still some persons in this country who will support the biased sludge opinion that super bowls are money makers rather than the money pit that they actually are.

  16. Slightly off topic, any movement on rescinding the not for profit status of the NFL?

  17. This is nothing but Corporate Welfare?! Plus old Roger Goodell is ruining the tradition of the game with his bending over backwards to placate NFL Ownerships. I.E., see Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, old Roger gave this locale the green light, over SF, even though the venue is “parking challenged,”

  18. IndyRes the NFL is a pass through entity, income taxes are paid at the team level.

  19. John: The NFL’s not-for-profit status doesn’t affect corporate income taxes, no. But it does enable league employees to duck state sales taxes, hotel taxes, etc.