Ready for the Super Bowl?

Little known Glendale, Arizona, played host to Super Bowl XLIX, reaping economic benefits anywhere between $50 million and $600 million. Next year, Santa Clara stands to gain that windfall. Are we ready?

The discrepancy between the two economic benefit figures depends on who’s doing in the analysis. But even the “worst-case” scenario means the game will be an economic boon to the community.

Most studies refer simply to the city that hosts the Super Bowl. Having been to five Super Bowls, the flaw in such an analysis is it fails to take the whole region into consideration. New Orleans, which does a great job for patrons, certainly received an economic windfall when it hosted the Harbaugh Bowl (a.k.a. The HarBowl). But every city in the surrounding region also got a boost. Hotels in Baton Rouge were filled, as were hotels in Biloxi, Mississippi—both more than 80 miles from the host city.

The Super Bowl generates billions in activity nationwide, as consumers rush to buy everything from big screen televisions to Doritos for the big game. So are we ready?

The host committee in Santa Clara will have its hands full and it should look to how other cities have fared. New Orleans and Miami are great venues. Palo Alto hosted in 1984, and those folks should be queried on what went wrong and what went right.

There is a myth that a home team has never hosted a Super Bowl. But in 1984, the 49ers won the event. Only by a technicality—the game was hosted at Stanford and not Candlestick—can people make that claim. Reasonable individuals know the 49ers are 1-0 in Super Bowls played in the Bay.

For those who have never been to a Super Bowl, it’s basically two weeks of partying followed by a football game. Fortunes can be made in two weeks with the right enterprise. Hotels, taxis, bars, restaurants and everything in between will be in great demand. Those who prepare and market themselves are sure to see profits increase. Those who fail to understand the magnitude of the opportunity will forever regret it.

It’s not simply the two teams and their fans who show up to the game; it’s the entire world. Every network works remotely for two weeks from the host city. Reporters from around the globe descend upon the host city. How Santa Clara treats these people, and how much fun they have, will be recorded for posterity. Of course, major corporations will sponsor huge events and parties, as well as be on hand to sell their wares.

The opportunity to sell Santa Clara as a place that knows how to do business will be on display for these high-rollers. And preparations need to begin now.

More Super Bowls could be forthcoming if Santa Clara and the region receive high marks from the NFL and business community. NFL executives have been salivating to return to the Bay since the successful Super Bowl of 1984. The only downside was the stadium itself was ill-equipped to host a gathering of that size.

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara has solved that problem. Now the NFL is coming back to take advantage of everything this region has to offer. Are we ready?

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


    • > One study in Florida has estimated that it would cost about $10,000 per year to provide permanent housing and services to a homeless person.

      Just wondering.

      What does a $10,000 per year package for a homeless person look like?

      Hotel? Meals? Transportation? Obamaphone? Ipad? Mobile phone plan? Recreation and entertainment? Goodie bag of free toiletries and coupons?

      If we offered an $11,000 per year package, would we get more homeless people off the street, or would we get more homeless people?

      • This seems to belong in the Homeless Plan topic – not Levi Stadium, but here goes.
        The matter seems like two separate questions:
        a. Is permanent housing more cost-effective?
        b. Is “if we build it, they will come” a legitimate concern?

        #B: Responding to B first, Absolutely – that what the data show. But it’s really more complex. Our climate, affluence & generosity, abundant services, and lax quality-of-life law enforcement make SJ an attractive homeless destination.

        Studies in LA & San Diego demonstrated that prime freeway ramp & intersection beggars can pull in an about $300 / day. Additional income from SSI & selling pilfered recyclables and metals (some stolen, some scrap). SJ offers free meals, showers, clothing, and shelter. St. James & Chavez parks offer a social setting as did the Jungle before it was razed. Free VTA, job training, medical & mental health services too.

        ‘No strings attached’ for the most part, though shelter providers prohibit animals, weapons, drugs & alcohol, and require civilized conduct. This has proved unacceptable to many chronic homeless; they prefer a feral existence.

        Many/most homeless we see (chronic homeless) aren’t suitable for conventional housing. They get kicked out for behavioral reasons or abandon their housing (and stealing fixtures & furniture). Rehabilitation is possible, but some form of institutionalization is more humane until rehabilitation becomes practical.

        #A: Is permanent housing more cost effective?
        That’s the party-line of many homeless advocates, but the data is much less clear. I’ve tried to drill down into the basis of these claims and haven’t been convinced of it’s validity. But I have found a lot to discredit that assertion. Here’s why: Assumptions.

        Do we assume every homeless unresponsive drunk costs about $2,300 for Rural/Metro to transport & about $22,000 at Valley Med [these are actual costs] for an 8 hour stay until they are sober enough to discharge? And a lot more if they have severe medical conditions as is often the case with chronic homeless.

        Then there are other costs. Over 95% of SJFD’s calls are non-fire. SJFD responds first, then Rural/Metro for transport if required. Unresponsive drunks get transported.

        In urban areas, homeless EMS calls comprise at least 25% of non-fire. SJFD doesn’t track our statistics. Given SJFD’s $164.2M budget, a first-level approximation could conclude the cost to be $164.2M * .95 * .25 ~ $40M / year – and that’s just for homeless SJFD response – not treatment.

        BTW, $40M / year is about twice what the POA says will reverse our SJPD attrition. And yes, $40M / year is on the high side. One can quarrel about fixed v. variable costs, but haven’t found better data so I’m using public records. Remember, this is an approximation – not a CPA’s analysis.

        Or do we provide a cost effective alternative as London and many others do? BTW, they have better data & am guessing better outcomes because ‘what gets measured, gets done’. We don’t so assume our results are worse. Much worse.

        And much more expensive here based on everything I’ve dug up.

        What could housing cost? An economical RV park on 13th St (Garden City) is listed at $34 / night or ~$1,034 per month. An RV can accommodate 2, perhaps 3 people. For two, the cost is $517 / month or $6,204 / year. The rule of thumb for housing is < 1/3 of income. So I'd estimate that someone would need ~$18,612 to comfortably afford $517 / month for housing. But given all the free services, they could probably live OK on $11,000 / year. Note that taxpayers still bear a substantial ongoing burden, so not clear it's cost-effective either.

        Used RVs are a lot less expensive than new housing. Class A ones are free from FEMA. Seems like a more cost effective solution than building more low income housing. SJ & SCC have abundant excess land to accommodate; infrastructure costs (water, power, etc. ) are more modest than traditional housing.

        SJ Housing officials shrieked when I asked about used RVs to address our low income housing needs. They prefer to see people sleeping under bridges until conventional units can be constructed.

        Sorry for the length, but its a complex matter.

        • . > Sorry for the length, but its a complex matter.

          Thanks. At least some real data.

          I always wondered why the zillions of trailers purchased by FEMA for Katrina temporary housing couldn’t be used.

          I recall hearing that most of the trailers were never used because of some silly ass PC reason.

      • What does a $10,000 per year package for a homeless person look like?

        $10k@year is actually a lot of money. Had an insomnia episode last night, and watched “Living on one dollar”. A documentary about the Mayan people in Guatemala, who have to live on a Dollar a day or less.

        If the Mayan descendants can live in mud/adobe tin roof shacks, and have a little sustenance farming, there’s no reason we can’t do the same for some of our homeless. At least those that are willing to do the work, and herein lies the problem.

        San Jose’s homeless problems are grossly overstated. A vast majority of the people you see with “Will work for food” signs aren’t homeless, they live in halfway houses. A lot of these halfway houses give these guys their meds in the morning, give them $10 then kick them out on the street for the rest of the day.

        First thing they do is sell their meds, buy a pack of smokes and maybe a 40oz. After they run out of money, they spend the rest of their day holding up traffic asking people for money.. And here is where I would do different.

        Anyone caught with a “Will work for food” sign on a traffic island would be fined. Multiple infractions == jail. In it’s simplest terms, a traffic island is what’s considered a “Traffic Control Device” and there are laws on the books for interferring with one. (The Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices or MUTCD is a great read)

        One of Sams former aids stopped by the bar one day. He told me it was his job to shut these places down. I have no doubt this will be Sam’s priority, although it’s not a warm fuzzy thing to feel good about. Even though the plan wasn’t laid explicitly in his book, I’m pretty sure we’ll see more follow through from him in this department.

        While the SJPD might not like Sam, the bottom line is the guy is probably going to do a fantastic job of cleaning up these issues, which in turn will allow the SJPD to focus on other crime riddled areas, like gangs and human trafficking.

        • Begging at freeway ramps (e.g., 880/Stevens Creek Valley Fair exit is popular) is against state law. CHP is good about responding. SJ median strip begging, as pointed out, is under SJPD’s jurisdiction.

          But…SJPD won’t enforce these or other code violations such as public feeding programs at St. James Park & homeless camps. These feedings probably violate SCC’s health codes too, but SCC officials have no interest in being perceived as bad guys either.

          Anyway, a little botulism among an invisible population will probably go unnoticed.

          Our chief with two of his two assistants present made it clear to me that they don’t want bad PR as happened in Florida & elsewhere – so forget feeding, public littering, & permit failure citations.

          Homeless service providers want feeding programs stopped too. Limiting food to pantries & dining halls forces homeless to show up.

          We get to know our clients. Those of us who work with them can interact, assess their condition, ask about meds, wounds that haven’t healed, etc. We encourage them to get help, make phone calls, etc. But at the end of the day, our clients have to change.

          There are no silver bullets. A ‘carrot & stick’ approach often works best to effect change, but certainly not always as any parent can attest.

          And of course we see people with good intentions that decry “criminalizing the homeless” when cops issue citations that ultimately lands a homeless person in jail when they fail to appear.

          What’s less known is that our jails have become a primary health delivery system for the indigent.

          For all these reasons, something like ‘poor farms’ (Elmwood began as one) seem the most cost effective, humane, and most likely to effect change while reducing SJ’s attractiveness as a homeless mecca.

          • > For all these reasons, something like ‘poor farms’ (Elmwood began as one) seem the most cost effective, humane, and most likely to effect change while reducing SJ’s attractiveness as a homeless mecca.

            Seems like common sense.

            > but SCC officials have no interest in being perceived as bad guys either.

            SCC officials = Dave Cortese?

          • Mea culpa, SJOUTSIDETHEBUBLE, I wasn’t clear.
            My conversations about public feeding programs were with SCC Health Dept. officials. In fairness to SCC Health, it’s a gray area in SCC’s regulations.

            Taken to extreme, a Health permit could be required for picnics. A Health permit is required at kitchens (regardless if they sell or give away food). But Granny need not have one if she brings brownies to the bingo game.

            Haven’t discussed matters with Dave or any other BOS members.

  1. Will Santa Clara make money off Super Bowl L? Of course; but it will be dwarfed by what SF makes.

  2. Oh, and Santa Clara has only a year to solve the auto ingress/egress problems @ Levi’s. Surely they don’t believe all the out of towners will be using VTA? Buena suerte.

  3. The overwhelming majority of studies conclude that public funded stadiums are bad deal for taxpayers. Do the research.

    Glendale paid $25M / year to the NHL after the Phoenix Coyote’s owner declared bankruptcy. Despite a $35M budget deficit gap, Glendale voted to give a future Coyote owner hundreds of millions in subsidies, while laying off 49 city employees. Glendale was so broke they considered putting their city hall & police stations up for collateral according to the Arizona Republic paper.

    Glendale’s on the hook for $15M / year for the next 20 years + another $12M / year for construction debt. In return they get $2.2M / year in rent payments, taxes, and other fees. Let’s see: -15-12 + 2.2 = -$24.8 million. Over 70% of Glendale’s budget gap is due to the stadium.

    I wish Santa Clara success – and am grateful SJ failed to get the A’s. Perhaps we can use the money for something more import like…wait for it: public safety.

  4. The criminal element that is multiplying by the minute along the N. 1st St corridor running all the way into DTSJ can’t wait!!!

    Has Mayor Sam started working up a solution to this eventuality?

  5. Super Bowl fans intending to book accommodations in San Jose will likely have one of two choices: safe, clean, overpriced hotels (built with city subsidies) or unsafe, dirty, overpriced hotels and motels (sullied by pimps, hookers, vouchered homeless, and Section 8 lowlifes).

    By the way, whatever public safety “solution” Mayor Liccardo decides to dictate to the police chief for this event is guaranteed to be one that will subtract critical resources from the needs of SJ residents.

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