Taxpayers are footing the bill for millions spent on hotel rooms for players and watch parties for the media ahead of Super Bowl LIV in Miami this Sunday, while the National Football League prepares to rake in money during its most profitable event.
The fact that Miami-Dade taxpayers would be providing cash subsidies for this year's Super Bowl has been well publicized. What's new are the details about where exactly the money is allocated and what the NFL is refusing to pay for, the Miami Herald reported.
According to county receipts, $1 million will be spent on rooms for players at two swanky Miami hotels, another $1 million will go to the NFL as a gift, and $370,000 will cover a media party Tuesday night at the county-owned PortMiami.
"These are basically things we have to do to get them to come," Rodney Barreto, chairman of Miami's Host Committee, which heads up the funding and organizing effort to secure and implement a Super Bowl bid, said, adding, "If we're not doing it, another city is."
In addition to its contribution for hotel rooms and watch parties, Miami-Dade County is also tasked with paying for extra safety and security measures leading up to and during the event. The county approved $4.5 million in "in kind" contributions along these lines last summer. The county will also award the Miami Dolphins $4 million as a reward to ownership for landing the big game.
According to a Miami Herald analysis, the total bill for taxpayers is likely to be around $20 million.
"It's a decision each community must weigh," said Brian McCarthy, the NFL's vice president of communications, arguing that most local communities feel the exposure that comes from hosting the Super Bowl is worth the cost.
"There is no shortage of communities interested in hosting a Super Bowl, which is good indication that it's a good investment," he added. "There's no question the economic benefits outweigh the costs. It's very, very competitive."
The issue at hand, of course, is that local governments are not spending their own money, but rather money collected from their citizens through taxes. And while communities may expect Super Bowl exposure to provide economic benefit down the road, that is not guaranteed.
Miami Gardens Chamber of Commerce President Andre Williams argued this point while speaking with Neil Cavuto on Fox News Monday.
Williams said that hosting the Super Bowl will "provide a windfall to the Dolphins [organization]" but that the residents and businesses of Miami won't reap the economic benefit.
Though it is exciting that the Super Bowl will be played in Miami, the city simply won't be reimbursed for the millions of dollars poured into public safety and events surrounding the game, he argued.
He also suggested that most attendees "come into the Super Bowl, enjoy the incredible venue, but do not spend their monies outside of the Super Bowl, so all those local, small mom-and-pop businesses are not benefiting from that experience."
Super Bowl LIV will feature the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.