Street artists and vendors who were displaced by Super Bowl City are a step closer to recouping income lost from the weeklong event.
While the big game may already be a distant memory, legislation that provides up to $600 to each displaced artist and vendor advanced out of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday, despite not all supervisors supporting the effort.
Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Jane Kim introduced the legislation on Feb. 9 that would create a $100,000 Super Bowl 50 impact fund. Both supervisors had also criticized the estimated $5.3 million it cost San Francisco in public safety and transit services to host Super Bowl City.
The free public event took place at Justin Herman Plaza and Sue Bierman Park in the week leading up to Super Bowl 50, held in Santa Clara. In addition to Super Bowl City, a ticketed NFL Experience event was held at Moscone Center. Various streets were closed in downtown San Francisco for the events.
Only the estimated 247 city-permitted street artists and food vendors displaced by Super Bowl City during the 22 days — which included setup and teardown of the event — stand to benefit. The City Controller would process applications.
Those who sell their products in the area but were unable to during the event were grateful for the effort to recoup losses. “We are always the last on the list to get any kind of compensation,” said Michael Addario, a long time street artist.
Supervisor Mark Farrell, who chairs the committee, opposed the measure and called Peskin “hypocritical” for wanting to spend revenues from the event after criticizing the deal and “bashing our city on a national stage.”
He also suggested the “slush fund” set a bad precedent for other civic events and that The City should wait for an economic analysis of the event before spending revenues.
The City Controller is expected to release an analysis of how much revenue the event generated The City within a month. The San Francisco Travel Association has already claimed the event was an economic boon, reporting that during the final four days of Super Bowl 50 activities, more than $8.2 million in hotel tax was generated, an increase of more than $5.3 million from the same period last year.
The cost to host the event was defended last month by Mayor Ed Lee and the board’s more moderate members, who argued The City would receive more than their expenses in tax revenues.
Supervisor Scott Wiener said Wednesday he was “very sympathetic to the street artists that were displaced” but had concerns that the proposal to help recoup their losses “is for a certain class of merchants and not others.”
But Peskin said other businesses that experienced revenue losses from Super Bowl City could also benefit if The City or entities like the NFL or the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee added money to the fund.
Businesses located at the Ferry Building are among those San Francisco merchants who say they took an economic hit from the event.
“We have estimated that The City lost approximately $495,000 in sales tax from our businesses during the Super Bowl festivities,” reads a March 9 letter sent to Peskin from several Ferry Building tenants. “Granted, that’s a small sum compared to the $8.2 million for The City, but it stems from a significant loss of income for us.”