Supes to call for Super Bowl 50 cost reimbursement

Like any good athletic contest, the two opposing sides battle until the very end.

In that spirit, those opposing San Francisco’s Super Bowl 50 deal turned out Tuesday morning at Market and Drumm streets to once more decry the terms negotiated by the mayor and the NFL host committee.

Opponents of the deal, including Supervisors Jane Kim, John Avalos and Aaron Peskin, say The City should not be paying an estimated $5 million in city services like transit and public safety to host the weeklong celebration leading up to the game in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7. Similar costs to Santa Clara are being fully covered by the host committee.

“Next week my colleagues and I will be introducing an emergency resolution asking The City to get fully recouped for the costs of the Super Bowl,” said Kim. “Santa Clara got the Super Bowl. San Francisco’s getting the traffic and the gridlock.”

“It is not too late for the NFL, which is a $9 billion a year organization, to throw down a little bit of money to San Francisco,” Peskin said. He also noted that The City is facing a $100 million budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Avalos said the deal “was made in the back room of room 200, the mayor’s office, with the NFL at the expense of taxpayers and the inconvenience of residents here in San Francisco, including the merchants who are with us today.”

Supporters of the NFL deal argue The City will more than recoup the expenses in tax revenues like hotel and sale taxes.

“We always get those trickle-down projections. But they really don’t pan out,” Avalos said.

Beginning Jan. 30, Justin Herman Plaza will host Super Bowl City, a free public event organized by the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee in partnership with the NFL. There will be road closures, including along the Embarcadero and Market Street near the site, from Jan. 23 until Feb. 12. A ticketed event, called the NFL Experience, will be held at the Moscone Center.

Stanley Roth, who owns the famous Stanley’s Steamers hot dog vending carts, and street artists Michael X. Trachiotis and Michael Addario, said the weeklong event will unfairly impact their business.

“There is 120 people, some of them are senior citizens, some of them are retired vets, some of them are people who use English for a second language and barely able to make ends meet as it is,” Trachiotis said. “However they have been kicked out of their spots without any compensation and without any representation and it is a horrible tragedy.”

A letter was sent to the street artists earlier month from the Arts Commission warning that selling spaces would be lost during the event.

“During this 18 day period, you will not be allowed to sell in Justin Herman Plaza as well as on Market Street, between Steuart and Drumm streets,” reads the letter, which was provided to the San Francisco Examiner by Arts Commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson-Murphy. “In lieu of this, temporary locations of 10 spaces will be created to enable Street Artists to participate in Super Bowl Week festivities and sell their arts and handcrafts to fans and residents through the ‘Super Community Art Walk’ program. A map of spaces will be forthcoming.”

Use of those limited slots would be selected via lottery by the Arts Commission, the letter said.

Trachiotis said that it would be fair for the NFL to compensate each artist $200 per day.

Roth was concerned about what would happen to his nearby vending cart and the impact it would have on his business and employees. He said no one has reached out to him in any official capacity. “I guess we will be closed because no one reached out or contacted us,” Roth said. “I’m still not certain how this is exactly going to work. If they shut me down for three weeks it would be a disaster. If we don’t work, we can’t pay our bills.”

Adding to the political tension has been the lack of details in the event. Last month, members of the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing to figure out the cost impact, but city departments were unable to provide any figures at the time.

It wasn’t until a Jan. 7 memo from the Mayor’s Office that the cost impact was revealed, and since the memo, estimates have increased. The most recent estimate from a report issued Friday by the board’s budget analyst Harvey Rose put the cost to city services at $4.8 million, an increase from the $4 million estimate provided in the mayor’s memo.

That report also showed that Santa Clara had struck an agreement with the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee to have its cost for city services fully covered.

The press conference and the vow to introduce a resolution next week doesn’t seem to have changed the mayor’s mind nor the host committee’s. Both were asked if they would renegotiate the agreement. Neither answered the question directly, but defended the current arrangement.

Mayor Ed Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey said in an email that “other cities have raised many millions in additional hotel, business and sales tax revenues, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact by hosting the Super Bowl.” She noted that The City is handling the event as it does other large “free public events like Pride, Chinese New Year’s, the World Series Parade, and Fleet Week.” “Those events also do not reimburse the City for basic public services,” she said.

Speaking for the host committee, Nathan Ballard pointed to the fact that the host committee is paying to put on the public event. “The city will more than make its money back through the dramatic increase in hotel and sales taxes,” Ballard said.

San Francisco has a troubling financial past in hosting large events. In 2013, San Francisco hosted the America’s Cup sailing competition and spent $11 million more than it made in revenues.

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