Harris County demands repayment for Houston Super Bowl costs, told “sorry, too late”

Harris County spent $1.3 million on security and other support for Super Bowl LI in Houston, and now county officials are asking that the NFL — or really, the Super Bowl Host Committee, a nonprofit that acts as conduit for Super Bowl spending — reimburse them. Which, unfortunately, they didn’t think to ask for in their contract for the event, and the host committee says no backsies:

Super Bowl Host Committee officials say they would like to reimburse taxpayers but are not obligated to because the county did not, in its offers of support for the weeklong event, negotiate that it be compensated or repaid by organizers. The city of Houston did and has been repaid $5.5 million by the host committee…

“It is very shortsighted,” said Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle. “There will be future events, future Super Bowls.”

Yes, there will! And Harris County is welcome to try to negotiate repayment of costs for future events, though given the NFL’s typical demands for being allowed to host the game, good luck with that. (Really, the city of Houston should be applauded for even getting repayment for its security costs, as well as for turning down NFL demands for $50 million in renovations to a nearly-new stadium and still landing the game.)

Meanwhile, does the Houston Chronicle’s report include unverified claims of the massive windfall Houston allegedly received from the game? Of course it does:

Super Bowl organizers tout some $347 million in economic impact from the game, the amount visitors spent while in Houston.

And how much would have been spent by the would-be visitors who steered clear of Houston because of the Super Bowl? You know, like happened the year before in Santa Clara? Nah, it says $347 million in a popup right on the host committee’s website, it’s gotta be true, right?


2 comments on “Harris County demands repayment for Houston Super Bowl costs, told “sorry, too late”

  1. Here in Detroit the Super Bowl was going to bring $100 million or $50 million or $200 million in increased spending and benefits, or whatever. The way they arrive at these figures is this: They throw a dart at a dart board and whichever number it hits they add “million dollars.”

    By the way, has anyone looked at these figures and after the event actually gone into the actual benefits? The media here, which trumpeted whichever glorious benefits were predicted, as not shown much curiosity in investigating this.

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