Super Bowl City along The Embarcadero was spread throughout Justin Herman Plaza and Sue Bierman Park. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Super Bowl 50 costs more than expected, but reportedly made SF money

Four months after hosting Super Bowl 50 — an event that stirred controversy for its impacts to homeless residents, vendors and small businesses — a report released Monday shows the event cost $9.6 million in city services, more than double the initial estimate.

But since Super Bowl 50 generated $11.6 million, The City came out in the black by $2 million, according to the City Controller cost impact report.

The report’s results, however, are about as contested as a controversial game-day call.

Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell, the loudest cheerleaders of hosting the event, released separate statements hailing it as an economic success. The cost impact was more than double what the Mayor’s Office estimated in early January amid criticism of the deal.

Those critical of the deal remained just as critical following the release of the report.

In an interview San Francisco Examiner, Supervisors Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin explained why they thought The City got a bad deal — despite the report’s findings.

“If you read the fine print, The City didn’t make $1.9 million. It arguably barely broke even or lost money,” Peskin said.

He said the report failed to include $500,000 incurred to speed up construction by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority because it’s not a city agency, for example. The report also doesn’t factor in city projects “sped up” for the event like Wi-Fi service on Market Street, or volunteer hours.

Notably, the report also doesn’t include the impact of shifting resources toward the event if an additional expense wasn’t occurred. Critics argue this meant other areas of the The City had services diminished. The report also doesn’t address the impacts on businesses who lost revenue.

“The controller is, with all due respect, working hard to come up with the rosiest projections,” Peskin said, adding that “these are not the vaunted rosy projections that Super Bowl boosters” promised.

But Mayor Ed Lee had a different take. “Hosting Super Bowl 50 exceeded our expectations, and I look forward to the Host Committee’s Economic Impact Report that will show how the event benefitted our workers, our small businesses and our greater regional economy,” the mayor’s statement said.

Farrell’s statement took aim at critics like Peskin. “During the lead-up to the big game, many criticized The City’s costs for hosting Super Bowl 50, and now those criticisms should hopefully be put to bed where they belong. I know that the Super Bowl 50 festivities caused some inconveniences for our residents, but this report proves once and for all that San Francisco was made whole and then some.”

Supervisor Jane Kim said regardless of revenue, it was simply bad policy to provide public subsidies for a $13 billion corporation.

“If you ask the average resident, if all the the inconveniences were worth it, if the $2 million in revenue was worth it, I think most San Franciscans would say no,” Kim said.

The SB 50 Host Committee estimates 1.1 million fans attended the weeklong celebration at Super Bowl City set up at Justin Herman Plaza, and the NFL Fan Experience at Moscone Convention Center in a lead up to the Super Bowl, which was held Feb. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Board of SupervisorsfootballNFLPoliticsSan FranciscoSuper Bowl 50Super Bowl City

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