Sure, a Super Bowl coming to Miami would be great. One that has the Miami Dolphins playing in it would be even better. A mega-event like the Super Bowl is guaranteed to harness national attention and pride within the city of Miami. But, both those thing are hard to measure.
First, let’s look at what it supposedly will take for a Super Bowl to return to Miami: according to the Craig Davis article, $200 million from owner Steve Ross along with another $375-400 million from the public. For our sake, let’s assume the public will fund $400 million for the stadium upgrades.
How do we measure pride in the city of Miami? Well, if having a Super Bowl truly means something to the Miami-Dade citizens, it will only take about $156 per person. That is—if every person gains some utility from having a Super Bowl or National Championship in Miami, it will only cost each person the $156. A number that could be allocated over time, perhaps (think $156 over 10 years and what a deal we have!).
The problem is that for every die-hard Miami-Dade football fan, there is probably an equal or greater population that does not give a damn about a football game in Miami. You even have to question if an average football fan or average household is willing to fund $156 dollars for this. They may easily wish to spend their money elsewhere. Children, too, who are accounted for in population records, certainly won’t have the money to pay for this. The burden, then, on a per-person basis, is even greater than $156.
So… Miami’s stadium renovations seem to be off to a rough start. Let’s see how the national attention of mega-events can help the city.
Hotels have already increased their bed tax one cent. A step in the right direction.
The Marlins are about as popular as a Little League team right now, and the public funded the majority of the $600+ million new stadium. The public probably doesn’t want to be duped again. Not this soon.
So, we must ask, if the renovations will bring in Super Bowls and mega-events, then this will be a good investment, right? The public won’t face such a burden, right?
Super Bowls and mega-events attract a national crowd, instead of just locals for typical Dolphins games. This means new people coming in to the city. But, does this mean economic benefit for the city?
In a situation with a Super Bowl, say, people will travel from across the country to Miami to watch the game. This creates different spending behavior from locals, for they likely leave the city to avoid the commotion of the tourists for the game, or at least avoid popular destinations that these tourists could take over. Bottom line: locals must redirect their money from normal expenditures because of the influx of tourists within the area.
Furthermore, with a mega-event bringing in many tourists under the national spotlight, the city itself must spend money to accommodate for the game itself, but also must increase security. Don’t assume a Super Bowl is all-profitable when the city itself endures expenditures to prepare for the game itself.
Hotels, amongst other businesses, jack up prices, which motivates tourists to seek a cheaper hotel outside the city or county. Broward County is not being asked to pay for the stadium upgrades. If a tourist for the game stays in Broward County, this creates an obvious economic leakage.
Miami is already a tourist attraction. How does one separate the money from tourism not associated with a Super Bowl? The revenue from Super Bowl games is distributed throughout the league, is it not? What does a $1,000 ticket have to do with Miami’s economy? Nothing.
What happens the day after the Super Bowl? Do the increased number of security guards for the event maintain their positions? These are all economic factors that are not equated into hosting a Super Bowl or mega-event. There is no certain way to measure the impact. The public could be paying $400 million for an event that drives them away from the city because of its commotion, or for a leakage that arises when tourists go to the game but stay in a neighboring area.
The public is paying for something that is bigger than them. Super Bowls aren’t for the citizens of Miami, they’re for the entire nation. Sure, Mr. Ross makes it sound like it’s a delightful and obvious investment, but what happens to the security guard who was hired specifically for the Super Bowl? Where does he go? Does he reap any of the reported billion dollar economic gains? Probably not, but he did probably pay for it.