Latest Posts





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. 




Upcoming Events

  • YLC Curling Event

    Location: Chaska Curling Center 3210 Chaska Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318

    Grab your broom and stone and join the Young Leadership Council for an evening of Curling at the Chaska Curling Center! $40 registration includes: Instruction Ice time and equipment Appetizers (Curling Center Bar will be available to purchase drinks) The event will begin with 15-20 minutes of classroom instruction on curling rules and basics followed by 20-30 minutes on the ice for practice and drills. Instructors will be on hand the whole evening to guide your games. Dress Code: Bring a pair of clean-on-the-bottom shoes to change into. No leather soles or metal lace hooks Loose fitting or strechy clothes…

    Register Now
  • The Diversity Delusion

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

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, April 24th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Heather Mac Donald as she discusses her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.  Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race…

    Register Now
  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Nigel Farage

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

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now