Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

We can’t know the true benefit of the Super Bowl unless we know its cost

“Minnesota Super Bowl adds $400 million to economy”

So said a headline in the Grand Forks Herald yesterday. As MPR News reports

Organizers of Super Bowl 52 say the game and its visitors netted the region $370 million in local spending during the run up to the Feb. 4 game in Minneapolis between the Eagles and Patriots.

A report released Tuesday estimated $450 million in local spending during the game — minus the money that visitors to Minnesota would have spent without a Super Bowl — brought in $370 million in new spending. Experts hired by the Super Bowl Host Committee say that money circulated through the local economy for an estimated impact of $400 million.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, a couple of things.

First, is this extra money for Minnesota? MPR News quotes College of the Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson who points out that

The sale of an Eagles jersey, he contends, is mostly profit to the NFL and the manufacturer, with some retail markup. And since Minnesota nixed a tax on sports memorabilia in the stadium finance debate and doesn’t tax clothing, local and state coffers wouldn’t net much.

Even hotel revenue mostly goes to out-of-state chains. “Spending does not equal income,” Matheson said in an email, after reviewing the Rockport report.

Second, what about the cost? As MPR notes, “Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers committed $498 million in public money to help pay for a new facility for the Vikings in 2012”. We have to offset these costs against the benefits. As I’ve written before, we have to think of all the extra spending and jobs that would have been generated if that $498 million in taxpayers money had been spent on something else. Or, better yet, if it had been left with the taxpayers who earned it to spend as they thought best.

Nobody likes to be a party pooper, but public policy must take into account what is not seen as well as what is seen.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment. 

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Candace Owens

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    From Brexit to Blexit… Britain’s exit from the European Union has not been smooth sailing. Since the leave date has been pushed back to October, Nigel Farage is now running for a seat in the European Parliament. That election date is May 23 which has forced him to cancel all American speaking engagements, including our Annual Dinner. Center of the American Experiment is pleased to announce that Candace Owens, the founder of the Blexit movement and host of The Candace Owens Show, will now be presenting the keynote address at our 2019 Annual Dinner on May 18. We are excited…

    Register Now